On the field, James Franklin has a tough time beating Ohio State and Michigan, but it appears that he doesn’t have much of a problem going in those states to steal top quarterbacks. In 2022, he pried Drew Allar, the No. 1 QB in the country, away from Medina Ohio. Now, Penn State is a contender to get a commitment from Bryce Underwood from Belleville Michigan, the No. 1 quarterback and No. 1 player in the 2025 recruiting class.
Underwood will announce his commitment on Saturday and 247 Sports is currently predicting that he will sign with LSU. However, with LSU’s offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock heading back to Notre Dame, the door may be open for other teams, including the Nittany Lions.
Back on September 23, Underwood took an unofficial visit to Happy Valley and has only visited LSU since. His list of finalists includes LSU, Alabama, Colorado, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, and Penn State.
Steve Wiltfong of 247 Sports wrote about Underwood’s impending decision and regarding Penn State, Underwood said, “Coach (Danny) O’Brien has been a big factor with me having them on my list. I feel like, without coach O’Brien, they wouldn’t be in the position they are, in my eye. They have a great coaching staff. They push their players and it’s a great place to be.”
Coach O’Brien figured to be a huge part of the quarterback room that Franklin and offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki will have a hand in running. Franklin has done well stockpiling talent in that room with four-star Ohio native Ethan Grunkemeyer joining Allar and Beau Pribula next season.
However, Underwood would be at a different level and would immediately change the Nittany Lions’ succession plan at the most important position. 2024 would become a make-or-break year for Allar, who would have one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country breathing down his neck.
Currently, the plan appears to be for Allar to start for another season or even two, if it goes well with a new offensive scheme, and then Grunkemeyer, who was a late bloomer, to take the reins. Quarterback isn’t necessarily a position of need for the program, but every team in the country would welcome a talent like Underwood.
At 6-foot-3 he has prototypical size for the position and is already a polished passer to all levels of the field. He would be a massive signing Franklin and would cool his ever-warming seat. Though the same could have been said for Allar and somehow Penn State managed to construct a mediocre and underwhelming offense around that five-star quarterback.
While Danny O’Brien is the primary draw for Underwood, Penn State’s struggles at wide receiver this season might scare him off.