Returning for a third year as the starting quarterback, Trace McSorley is going to be the star attraction for Penn State this season. With Saquon Barkley and Mike Gesicki gone and Joe Moorhead having left to become a head coach, McSorley is taking on quite a burden to keep the Penn State offense moving the way it has the last couple of years. Fortunately for Penn State, McSorley appears to be more than ready for the task.
Nationally, McSorley is being praised for his value he brings to the field. This is to be expected given this will be McSorley’s third year running the offense even with the changes that was underway. In a ranking of the nation’s top 25 quarterbacks for the 2018 season, Sporting News ranked McSorley at the top of the list; ahead of three quarterbacks who played in the College Football Playoff last season and three others from inside the Big Ten (all in the Big Ten East).
Here’s what Sporting News had to say about the Nittany Lions quarterback;
McSorley lost one start in high school and has only lost five starts the last two seasons for the Nittany Lions. He’s a winner, a three-year starter and a smart quarterback who has compiled 59 touchdowns and 18 interceptions for his career.
A brilliant performance in the Fiesta Bowl eased concerns about the loss of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, running back Saquon Barkley and a host of receiving targets. The 2018 season is a chance for McSorley to lead the program to the next step — and stake his claim as college football’s top quarterback.
The wealth of experience goes a long way in college football, especially when that experience has played a pivotal role in a Big Ten championship and a victory in the Fiesta Bowl. I can’t say I was surprised to see Sporting News think so highly of McSorley. After all, I think he is certainly one of the top Big Ten offensive players to watch for the 2019 NFL Draft and I have been discussing the importance of having McSorley this season time and time again. I was mildly surprised to see McSorley rank at the top of the list, but I understand it.
It certainly makes a little more sense when you start comparing McSorley to former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, as Dustin Hockensmith recently did on PennLive. The Mayfield comparisons are one I have been coming back to many times this offseason. I’m not here to say McSorley is going to win a Heisman Trophy or go first overall in the NFL Draft next spring, but you can see similarities in how Mayfield and McSorley have played during their college years. It is fair to say McSorley is Penn State’s Mayfield, although without much of the drama that comes with the territory (yes, I know some people get annoyed with the home run swing, but if that’s the worst you can saw about McSorley, that is not bad).
Do you think McSorley is worthy of such high accolades? I think it is fair given what he has accomplished, much of it having to come when teams found ways to shut down Barkley. If McSorley can score a home win against Ohio State at the end of September, then the Heisman discussion will be fair to jump into (assuming no other blemishes before). But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Big Ten QBs in the Sporting News Top 25
- No. 1 Trace McSorley, Penn State
- No. 8 Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
- No. 15 Shea Patterson, Michigan
- No. 16 Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State