After missing out in 2025, Penn State quickly moved on to an elite California four-star in the 2026 QB class

On Tuesday, amidst a flurry of 2025 commitments, Penn State landed a commitment from 2026 four-star QB Troy Huhn from San Marcos California.
Penn State Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki
Penn State Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Zollers is a top 5 quarterback in the recruiting class of 2025 and has played his entire high school football career just a few hours from Beaver Stadium in Royersford Pennsylvania. The rocket-armed four-star was one of Penn State’s primary recruiting targets in the class, but once Missouri landed his commitment, James Franklin and Andy Kotelnicki wisely turned their attention to the 2026 QB class. 

Now, amidst a flurry of 2025 commitments, the Nittany Lions landed Troy Huhn a four-star QB from San Marcos California who plays his high school ball a several-hour flight from Happy Valley. Huhn is the No. 10 QB in 247Sports composite rankings and is the 108th-ranked player in the 2026 class. Huhn’s commitment leaves only two top 10 QBs in 2026 still uncommitted. The seats at the elite quarterback table were filling up quickly, Penn State just got one. 

Huhn was in a similar situation, running out of options. Coveted by Texas and Michigan, Huhn saw those dreams dissipate with the recent commitments of the No. 2 QB Dia Bell to the Longhorns and the No. 7 QB Brady Hart to the Wolverines. With his options cut down to Penn State, Ohio State, and Auburn, he chose the Nittany Lions in large part because he felt like a priority to Franklin. That’s no surprise given Penn State’s quarterback situation. 

With Drew Allar, Penn State is comfortable at quarterback for 2024, still reaping the rewards of landing the No. 1 overall player in the 2022 recruiting class. However, the future beyond this season is a bit murky. Allar could have a breakout year and land in the first round of the NFL draft, or struggle enough to hit the transfer portal for a fresh start. 

That uncertainty is quelled by Ethan Grunkemeyer’s late rise up the 2024 recruiting rankings and for some especially optimistic fans, by Beau Pribula’s flashes of electricity in his limited snaps. The Nittany Lions have also had a long-standing commitment from three-star QB Bekkem Kritza, however, Penn State still made a push not just for Zollers, but 2025 QB1 Bryce Underwood who is heading to LSU. After going 0-2 in recruiting, all signs pointed to four-star Malik Washington from Severn Maryland as the next QB target, but Franklin’s staff has noticeably backed off. 

Washington is set to announce his commitment on Friday and Tom Loy and Brian Dohn of 247Sports both predict that he’ll become a Maryland Terrapin. So, barring any significant and unforeseen changes, Kritza will be Penn State’s lone quarterback commit in 2025. 

The timeline wasn’t the only reason to prioritize Huhn in 2026 over Washington in 2025, play style had to be a consideration. Washington is a pocket passer first, but at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds with long strides, Washington brings the legitimate dual-threat ability that Andy Kotelnicki has had so much success with at Kansas. Jalon Daniels and Jason Bean were both playmakers on the ground both on designed runs and broken plays, but Kotelnicki doesn’t have that with Allar and hasn’t prioritized it in recruiting. 

Also standing 6-foot-4 with a similar frame, Huhn is a true drop-back passer, even playing under center with true pro-style play-action deep shots at Mission Hills High School. He has a quick release and throws with anticipation to all levels of the field. Like Allar and Grunkemeyer, he operates very little outside of structure and will keep the designed quarterback runs mostly out of the playbook in Happy Valley. 

Kotelnicki had a chance with Washington or other 2026 QBs to find a quarterback who would fit the offense he ran at Kansas. Instead, he’s decided to adapt his system to cater to the talent he inherited at Penn State and feels strongly enough to double down on that style of quarterback in 2026. 

It’ll be a few years before Huhn is a Nittany Lions and given his meteoric ascent alongside Kansas head coach Lance Leipold, Kotelnicki could be a head coach by that time. If not, proving his offense can be dynamic with every type of quarterback from Jalon Daniels to Allar to Huhn, will land him his first head job. 

From Franklin and Kotelnicki to quarterbacks coach Danny O’Brien who was integral in Huhn’s recruitment, Penn State needed Troy Huhn and without other elite QBs announcing their commitments to other major programs, Huhn needed Penn State. Even with signing day 2026 a long way off, now was the right time for the Nittany Lions to find the QB of the not-so-near future.