It’s talking season in college football.
That means predictions, rankings, and lists … you name it, it’s out there, when it comes to Penn State Football and the rest of the Power-Five.
Mike Farrell of Rivals.com, who covers college football on a national level for the site, put together a preseason list of his top 5- quarterbacks in college football. Penn State Football’s signal caller, Sean Clifford, did in fact appear on the list but it may come as a surprise as to where.
Running this again. Anyone who comments something sane will get a follow and/or response. pic.twitter.com/n1xBcZkCkz
— Mike Farrell (@mfarrellsports) June 18, 2022
Farrell ranks Clifford at no. 41 on his list, and has him 36th among power five quarterbacks which puts him essentially as a middle of the road quarterback among power five starters.
On the surface, that seems like a reasonable place to put a quarterback who is 22-12 as a starter and has a career QBR of 70.7.
However, when you take a deeper look at the list, Farrell has guys like Blake Shapen of Baylor, and Cam Ward of Washington State who have yet to even take a snap as a division one quarterback ahead of Clifford.
Add to that list Frank Harris of UTSA, Taulia Tagovailoa of Maryland, and Tanner Mordecia of SMU, and you start to see the disrespect we are all just accustomed to with Sean at this point.
Clifford is undoubtedly limited physically.
Clifford is not the best athlete, nor does he have the strongest arm. He has his “oh no” moments and will make some risky throws from time to time, but in the end Clifford has mostly proven he is a reliable leader and can win games.
His injury last season ended up overshadowing his start to the season, one that included a flawless second half against Auburn in a ‘white out’ crowd at Beaver Stadium.
But, Clifford was well on his way to eviscerating one of the best defenses in the country at Iowa before a hit that broke his ribs early in the second quarter.
Clifford’s 3,107 passing yards and 21 passing touchdowns both ranked him among the top 40 signal callers in the nation, despite an injury that could have sidelined him for weeks, instead he played through it and missed only those two and a half quarters against Iowa.
He dealt with a below average offensive line last season that surrendered the most sacks in the Big Ten in 2022 and a non-existent run game to boot. The Lions managed to average a measly 108 yards per game on the ground and struggled to run the ball even against some of their weaker opponents last season like Villanove and Ball State.
With Mike Yurcich back for a second season as Nittany Lions offensive coordinator, it marks the first time for Clifford as a starter he will have the same play caller for consecutive seasons.
Clifford will have to prove he can carry this offense, especially without first-round NFL Draft pick Jahan Dotson at wide receiver.
But, the media narrative and lack of respect for a quarterback who has won a lot of games in his career is not warranted.
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