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What if Drew Allar Exceeds Expectation?

Allar is Penn State’s most prized quarterback prospect since Hackenberg, but can he achieve at a level not seen since Collins?

The beauty for every college football fan heading into the college football season is you begin to daydream and imagine the greatest possibilities.

For Penn State fans, this off-season’s leading story is the development of sophomore quarterback Drew Allar. Allar came into Happy Valley recognized as the top pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2022.

In the history of recruiting rankings, dating back to the mid-1980s with SuperPrep’s rankings of the five-star quarterbacks, Penn State had landed Tony Sacca (who was the Eastern Prodigy opposite Todd Marinovich) in 1988, Anthony Morelli in the Class of 2004, and Christian Hackenberg was the crown jewel for Bill O’Brien in the Class of 2012. All three were extremely heralded and carried a lot of expectations, but in my four decades following the Nittany Lions, Allar is coming in with a lot more expectations than the others.

Allar is considered by many the highest-rated quarterback recruit in Penn State history. In an analysis, 247 National Scouting Analyst Gabe Brooks compared Allar to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and in his scouting report wrote:

“Owns excellent size with prototypical build of a big-bodied pro-style quarterback. Nearly 6-foot-5 and 230-plus pounds and wears it well. Arm strength reflects those physical tools. Ball gets out fast despite long-levered build. Displays big-armed vertical juice with terrific velocity in short-to-intermediate situations. Knows how and when to vary zip and does so from myriad arm angles with impressive playmaking creativity. Shows ability to suddenly and smoothly dial back power, if needed, at tail end of delivery. Not a true dual-threat, but capable of scrambling when the play breaks down. Throw power transfers to off-schedule, off-platform opportunities. Strong enough to make timely, accurate cross-body throws on the move. Functional athleticism derives in part from a foundation at other positions earlier in career. Shows anticipatory feel for the position. Strong production as a junior improved to outstanding during senior season. Only seven interceptions in 514 throws (one in 73.4 attempts) in 2021. May need time to adjust to speed of the game and processing rate at the next level. Most naturally talented thrower in the 2022 quarterback class. Not tapped out by any means and possesses immense upside. Should become an impact high-major starter with NFL Draft first-round potential.”

These expectations are off the charts. Even Kerry Collins, who came to Penn State via Wilson High School in West Lawn, PA, never had these comparisons.

Allar has the potential to be the next Kerry Collins. He has the right make up and similar build to Collins where both quarterbacks are 6’5”, neither are exceptional scramblers but possess great pocket presence and great footwork, and both had rocket arms.

Collins' 1994 campaign is arguably the greatest individual season by a Penn State quarterback, where he rewrote the record book and finished with the fourth-highest passing efficiency season in NCAA history at the time.

Since Collins' departure, Penn State hasn’t had a quarterback of his caliber behind center. One of the major holes Penn State has had in losing to Ohio State annually under James Franklin is the disparity of talent at the quarterback position. Since Urban Meyer took over at Ohio State in 2012, and Ryan Day has continued that effort, Ohio State has enjoyed great quarterback play as they have monopolized the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year winning 10 of the previous 11 awards. Penn State quarterback play was part of the issue last season in the collapse against Ohio State, where Sean Clifford turned the ball over four times.

If Allar closes that gap for Penn State, and plays above the advertised level as Josh Allen, you are looking at a College Football Playoff berth at minimum.

The talent supporting Allar is immense.

Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton are as good as any running back duo in the country and can go toe-to-toe with the best in Michigan with Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards.

Starting left tackle Olu Fashanu is seen as either the best or slightly behind Notre Dame’s Joe Alt as the best left tackle in the country.

Penn State wide receivers look talented, athletic, and deep like they normally are and Dante Cephas, the transfer in from Kent State, looks to be the next Penn State wide receiver export to the NFL that has been the norm in the James Franklin era.

The defense is loaded with one of the nation’s elite EDGE rushers in Chop Robinson, linebacker Abdul Carter dazzled as a freshman, and cornerback Kalen King had 15 passes defensed, three interceptions, and zero pass interference calls accepted last season and is rated behind Alabama cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry by Pro Football Focus as the top cornerbacks headed into the 2023 season. Allar has the pieces around him to win a national championship, if he exceeds expectations Penn State might find itself in Houston in the middle of January.



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