Former Penn State quarterback back in the transfer portal

Penn State is set at quarterback with Drew Allar, but if James Franklin wants more depth behind center then he could contemplate a reunion with Christian Veilleux, though that may not be best for either party.
Penn State redshirt freshman quarterback Christian Veilleux
Penn State redshirt freshman quarterback Christian Veilleux / Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

In 2019 and 2020, Sean Clifford beat out Will Levis for the starting job at Penn State, so in 2021, Levis transferred and the role of heir-apparent was up for grabs. Clifford ultimately held the starting job through 2022 before passing it off to Drew Allar, but for a moment in 2021, Christian Veilleux, a four-star quarterback from Ottawa, Ontario, who played his high school football in Maryland, appeared to be next in line. 

After two years of sitting behind Clifford, who retained eligibility from the pandemic-impacted seasons in 2020 and 2021, Veilleux was done waiting. Clifford’s fifth year of eligibility had robbed him of a chance to start and Allar had passed him on the depth chart, so he transferred in-state to Pitt. 

Now, after just one season with the Panthers, Veilleux is back in the portal and looking for another chance. Pat Narduzzi, Pitt’s head coach, stuck with Phil Jurkovec, a hometown hero, for far too long in 2022 before finally handing the job to Veilleux. However, after just five starts, he was benched for third-stringer Nate Yarnell, who has apparently won the job in spring ball, prompting Veilleux to search for a new home. 

Across his five starts and two appearances off the bench, Veilleux threw for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns but completed just 51.1% of his passes with eight interceptions and went 1-4. Pitt had an inept offense under Frank Cignetti Jr. who has since been fired, but the 6-foot-4 220-pound redshirt sophomore’s performance was underwhelming, to say the least. 

His best moment came in his first start, a 38-21 win over Louisville at Acrisure Stadium with 200 yards and two touchdowns on 12-26 passing in awful weather. He followed that up with a 28-45 302-yard two-touchdown performance in a 21-17 loss to Wake Forest the very next week. 

Things spiraled from there. In Week 9, coming off the Wake Forest loss, Veilleux threw four interceptions and completed just 14 of 29 passes for 127 yards and no scores in a 58-7 loss to Notre Dame. 

Penn State has Beau Pribula as the entrenched backup behind Allar and four-star freshman Ethan Grunkemeyer as the succession plan so a reunion seems unlikely. Veilleux needs to land somewhere he’ll have a chance to start, it’s clear he’s done playing second-fiddle, but very few teams are coming out of spring ball still searching for QB1.

Veilleux is familiar with Happy Valley, but with Andy Kotelnicki's new offensive system getting installed this offseason, he wouldn't be any more familiar with Penn State's system than any other. Any advantage of a return to the program is nullified by the change in offensive coordinator, so it's time for another fresh start, and maybe another year of waiting.

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