Drew Allar was officially listed as the backup quarterback behind Sean Clifford for Penn State Football’s first game against Purdue, on Thursday night.
This is a huge step, not only for the progression of Allar but for the program.
Many people thought coming into this season that Christian Veilleux would take the backup role this season while Allar would redshirt. After all, Veilleux did play well at the end of last season when he filled in for an injured Clifford.
The coaching staff putting Allar in that second-string spot shows a lot of confidence in the five-star freshman. They are essentially saying that if something were to happen to Clifford, we view Drew as the second-best option on the team.
This will also give Allar more reps with the first team offense, something he wouldn’t have had much experience with heading into next season if he hadn’t.
Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin has continued to say that the depth chart behind Clifford is something that is still fluid but as of now Allar is the guy next in line.
We saw last year what happens when you don’t have a prepared backup, see the Iowa game.
Tyquan Roberson looked overwhelmed in the game Clifford went down in, and the team brought Clifford back too quickly from injury because of that lack of faith in a competent backup.
Veilleux played well in the Rutgers game at the end of the season, but it took a whole season to get the then-freshman up to speed.
It is apparent that Franklin and staff don’t want to get caught unprepared this season and having a reliable backup quarterback will be huge for the team’s success.
What does this mean for Veilleux?
Franklin mentioned multiple times that the situation was fluid and Veilleux certainly can put himself right back in that second-string role with some quality play in practice.
However, it seems that the pressure to keep Allar on campus might lead Veilleux to the transfer portal at season’s end.
That is simply the new era of college football and right now there are three quarterbacks behind Clifford, and it is likely that at least two of them leave in the transfer portal.
Obviously, there is excitement and pressure from the fanbase to get Allar in there and this could lead to Veilleux seeing what his options are elsewhere.
Veilleux could wait until next spring to see if he has a legitimate shot to win the starting job before making his decision and if it looks like Allar is going to beat him out transfer before camp starts that fall. He had many offers coming out of high school and most certainly would garner some interest in the portal.
Drew Allar showing Promise
The biggest part of this decision shows that Allar is progressing faster than even most of the media and public thought.
We knew coming in that he was the highest quarterback recruit in the James Franklin era, and could really sling it but weren’t sure what the adjustment timetable was going to be.
Many expected Allar to be in that third-string redshirted, reserve role this season but there have been many reports out of camp that have described how well he had been playing.
Having the opportunity to get game reps even in garbage time will be huge for his development, especially if he is named the starter next season.
There is a possibility that Allar plays late in the home opener against Ohio, and what a buzz that will create in Beaver stadium …