Drew Allar‘s arrival in Happy Valley has coincided with dramatically elevated expectations, College Football Playoff possibilities, and represents Penn State Football finally fielding a blue-chip quarterback under head coach James Franklin.
Allar’s recruitment is also fascinating when you consider the big-armed 6-foot-5 and 245-pounded former five-star prospect was once Ohio’s Mr. Football recipient, growing up just under two hours outside of Columbus.
During a recent episode of the Next Man Up podcast with Adam Breneman, Allar revealed why he chose the Nittany Lions over Ohio State and the slew of other offers that arrived on his front doorstep.
“Penn State Really took their time building the relationship with me,” Allar explained. “And I could definitely feel that bond with them.”
As has seemingly been commonplace in the world of Penn State Football recruiting, Allar explained that both Franklin and Nittany Lions offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich even attempted to talk him out of committing to the Blue and White.
“I committed, like a week before I actually announced it,” Allar said. “I remember, I was on FaceTime with Coach Yurcich and Coach Franklin, at the same time, and he said to me ‘are you sure about this? We want you, but we need to make sure that you’re all set, and you’re going to stay committed to us … If you need any time, think through it, and make sure this is the place for you.’
“But, I knew it was the place for me, because I visited, on my own with my family one weekend, and it was freezing, though. I was used to it. I could see myself going to school here, playing football here, and I think three days after I visited, I called them, told them I wanted to commit, and they were really excited. They just wanted to make sure I stayed true to them. I was grateful for that. They wanted what’s best for me, even if it wasn’t Penn State at the time.”
For Allar, it couldn’t have been an easy choice to leave the Buckeye state behind, especially for a division rival. But, it was the relationships throughout the process that cemented his commitment to Penn State.
“They got to know me a lot more off the field than on the field,” Allar said. “If you’re going to come play here, you’re a good player. They didn’t focus on that much, they were more concerned about my interests outside of football, inside of school, and built a genuine relationship with my family. It was super cool that they did that, not a lot of schools did that.”
Yurcich struck gold early, setting his sights on Allar when he was still the offensive coordinator at Texas, and Allar a mere three-star prospect.
Fast forward to Allar, staring into an iPhone at Franklin and Yurcich.
He was a soon-to-be minted five-star and the nation’s top-ranked quarterback prospect.
It was Yurcich’s ability to discover Allar from 1,236 miles away that stood out to the young quarterback, especially considering that Ohio State, located in his own backyard, had shown no interest when he was merely a talented 3-star quarterback.
This unique turn of events ultimately paved the way for Allar to find his place at Penn State.
“My biggest reason was I felt like Penn State was the right place for me to go,” Allar said, when asked pointedly why he didn’t choose Ohio State. “It had everything I wanted academically, obviously football, and off the field, the resources we have around here.
“At the time, I was committed to Penn State for like nine months. It was late in the process. I have a great amount of respect for the Ohio State coaches and their program, but I didn’t think their program was the best fit for me personally, I felt Penn State was. It was super late in the process, too.”