How the 5 highest rated recruits of James Franklin's tenure panned out at Penn State

Franklin scores impressive grades with notable failures and a questionable incomplete.
Penn State v Memphis
Penn State v Memphis / Benjamin Solomon/GettyImages
4 of 5

No. 2 Drew Allar

Recruiting Profile: 

  • Quarterback
  • Medina HS  (Medina, OH)
  • 247Sports Composite Five-star
  • Rated as top overall prospect in the state of Ohio and the nation’s top quarterback in the Class of 2022. Overall, 247Sports rated Smith the No. 3 overall recruit in their recruiting rankings.

Recruiting Expectations:

Allar was the highest-rated quarterback prospect since Christian Hackenberg from the 2012 Class to commit to Penn State. 247Sports Gabe Brooks made a comparison to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

Brooks said in his scouting report of Allar, “Owns excellent size with the prototypical build of a big-bodied pro-style quarterback. Nearly 6-foot-5 and 230-plus pounds and wears it well. Arm strength reflects those physical tools,” and a future Day 1 NFL Draft Choice. The New York Post prior to the 2023 season named Allar a future Heisman Trophy winner.


Allar’s debut for the Nittany Lion couldn’t have been any better, connecting on a 72-yard touchdown to KeAndre Lambert-Smith against West Virginia. Allar displayed moments of brilliance and was extremely disciplined. However, there were plenty of times when the players around him failed him in big moments.

Notably, when Penn State’s wide receivers played against elite secondaries, notably Ohio State, Michigan, and Ole Miss, no wide receiver was able to separate and allow Allar to flourish.

. . Drew Allar. Drew Allar. B

A popular comparison is Kerry Collins' first full season as the starter in 1993. Both struggled mightily against Ohio State and Michigan but still managed to win 10 games and put the team in position for a final Top 10 ranking against an SEC school in a major bowl, and finished with QB Ratings over 100.

Allar has the advantage of friendlier passing stats especially the touchdown to interception ratio (25:3) over Collins. However, Collins had the superior cast and was able to overcome Michigan and Ohio State with gusto in 1994. At the time, it was the fourth-highest passing efficiency season ever.  Allar may have a strong running back and tight end group, but if the receivers aren’t able to at least be mediocre, that will be the obstacle to Allar realizing his full potential and achieving an A.