Drew Allar: Heisman or Growing Pains? Setting Expectations for Penn State Football QB
The buzz is back in Happy Valley ahead of the 2023 Penn State Football season, and its thanks in large part to one name, Drew Allar.
The 5-star prospect from Medina, Ohio has fans excited for what the future may hold for the Nittany Lions, so let’s dive deeper into what the realistic expectations will be for Allar’s first year as QB1.
We’ve all watched other college football programs lose a quarterback to the NFL, just to have the next man up be just as good if not better. Ohio State seems to do this often, but it is safe to say Penn State hasn’t had the success seen by some of the other top tier college programs.
Sean Clifford had a good first year, going 11-2 and winning the Cotton Bowl. Trace McSorely also had a good first year, winning the Big Ten, beating OSU, but ultimately missing the playoff and losing in the Rose Bowl to USC.
Both Clifford and McSorely had there ups and downs following that first year, sometimes failing to reach those expectations set from the year prior, so will Drew Allar be different?
Penn State Football offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich recruited Allar to Happy Valley. How well Yurcich is able to develop and mold Allar into his offensive scheme will have huge impacts on Allar’s first year under center.
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It is hard to look to far ahead in the age of the transfer portal, so let’s set the expectations for year 1 only.
Allar leading the Nittany Lions to a 9-3 record in his first season is a realistic expectation.
Playing the Buckeyes in Columbus and the defending Big Ten Champion Wolverines are two tough games for any first year starter. Looking at the remaining schedule, that trip to Illinois, and the season opener against the Mountaineers are not games Nittany Lion fans should over look.
What are reasonable expectations for Drew Allar?
Would 9-3 be satisfactory for most fans? Probably not, including myself who leans towards 10-2.
The expectations are high, with the majority of fans expecting a 10-2, 11-1, or 12-0 being realistic goals for Allar’s first year under center. If 9-3 is the end result, it does not mean he’s a bust, fans need to be patient, and understand that growing pains are going to happen for the sophomore QB.
It’s worth pointing out McSorely only completed 58% of his passes his first year under center. Sean Clifford completed 59% his first year under center. It’s a realistic expectation for Allar to being around that 57% to 60% completion percent in his first year as well.
If Allar exceeds his predecessors completion percentages, while hitting big plays, Nittany Lion fans could expect a lot better than 9-3.
The questions the Nittany Lions face in the WR room will also play into how Allar performs.
Dante Cephas, Malik McClain, and KeAndre Lambert-Smith all have questions of how their production will be this upcoming season. Their ability to have good seasons will only help Allar exceeds the massive expectations thrown upon his shoulders.
Oh yeah, handing the ball off to Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen isn’t a bad crutch to lean on either in your first year.
Bottom line is this, if Allar gives us above average to even good QB play, the future in Happy Valley is extremely bright.