Sean Clifford has only taken a few live game snaps in his college career, but he may have already won over his teammates.
The Penn State quarterback situation has been in distress before the 2019 season. Record-breaking quarterback Trace McSorley is gone and expected starter Tommy Stevens entered the transfer portal and decided to finish his career at Mississippi State. The depth under center took a hit in State College.
But Clifford has made a promise to his teammates that quality of play at the game’s most important position won’t see a decline.
In a recent interview with PennLive.com, linebacker Micah Parsons talked about a situation in which Clifford essentially won the locker room. He told his teammates there would be no drop-off at quarterback, despite losing McSorley and Stevens this offseason.
“After Tommy left, we were all in a team meeting,” Parsons told PennLive.com. “(Clifford) stood up and all he said (was), ‘There will be no drop-off in the QB position.’
“So, him doing (that), it was almost like a movie of that leader that just rose to the occasion. …He promised the team in front of everybody. Everybody just rallied to him.”
Clifford appears to be the favorite to win the starting job, even though head coach James Franklin has no interest in naming a starter this early. He said he doesn’t want to make any promises and not live up tot he expectation.
Still, Clifford is already acting like a team leader in the locker room without a guarantee that he’ll be the guy come the fall. It’s easy for teammates to rally around that type of character.
Last season, Clifford played sparingly and saw action in just four games. He completed 5-of-7 pass attempts for 195 yards and two touchdowns. His best outing came against Kent State, completing all three throws for 117 yards and a touchdown.