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Why Quarterback Drew Allar Is the 'Centerpiece' of Penn State's 2022 Class

Allar is 'ready for the spotlight,' Sports Illustrated's director of recruiting said, but will benefit from Sean Clifford's mentorship.

Quarterback Drew Allar arrives at Penn State as the "centerpiece" of the 2022 recruiting class, Sports Illustrated's director of recruiting said, but also does with less pressure.

Allar will benefit from a year with veteran quarterback Sean Clifford, who is returning for his sixth season of eligibility. According to John Garcia, Jr., that offers Allar a runway to success at Penn State.

"That's going to help him a ton," said Garcia, Jr., SI's director of recruiting. "... Certainly that transition to college is not an easy one, even for kids as talented as Allar. I think he needs that year."

Allar, recently named Ohio's Mr. Football, brings quite a pedigree to Penn State. He threw for 4,444 yards and 48 touchdowns during his senior season at Medina High, which went 13-1. Allar threw for more than 9,000 yards during his high school career.

Allar, who will enroll early at Penn State, participated in last summer's Elite 11 camp, where he impressed fellow quarterbacks and counselors with his strong arm. Garcia, Jr. placed Allar among the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 recruiting class.

"This is maybe the most talented quarterback Penn State has signed in quite some time," Garcia, Jr. said. “We mentioned the size. He's legitimately six-foot-five, well over 200 pounds, a good athlete, not one you're going to design runs for, but he can escape when he needs to. And when it comes to the arm, my goodness. He is just as strong [as anyone] in the pocket as we've seen in this class of 2022.

"He's got great velocity on the ball, can hit all three levels. And he's a smart kid. When you talk to him, you're kind of impressed. He makes you kind of fix your posture a little bit, and that's rare when you're talking about high school quarterbacks."

Medina High quarterback Drew Allar was named Ohio's Mr. Football after throwing for 4,444 yards during his senior season. (Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal)

Medina High quarterback Drew Allar was named Ohio's Mr. Football after throwing for 4,444 yards during his senior season. (Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal)

Penn State's quarterback room gets fortified not only by Allar but also by fellow recruit Beau Pribula, who led Central York High to the Pennsylvania playoffs. In addition, Christian Veilleux returns with a game of starting experience and will be a redshirt freshman.

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Quarterback Ta'Quan Roberson announced plans to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal, giving Penn State four scholarship quarterbacks entering 2022. Clifford will be the mentor, as a 24-year-old, potential four-year starter and captain next season.

Which means that Allar faces less pressure transitioning to college football.

"I think the recalibration of the new playbook and to the style Penn State wants to play is going to be an adjustment for Allar," Garcia, Jr. said. "As much as I'm sure Penn State fans want to see it open up and go a little bit more spread, there's going to be a happy medium there. So it'll be an adjustment for both parties. And obviously, there can't be one scenario that Sean Clifford hasn't gone through as the starter, really on or off the field. So that's just going to be an invaluable experience for Drew to absorb.

"And look, I think he's talented enough to be the guy Day 1, but now he doesn't have to be. ... So I think he's ready for the spotlight whenever it comes. But now it's not going to be forced. That's going to be huge for both him and for Penn State."

Penn State coach James Franklin said Allar made his climb "old school," raising his national reputation via performances at offseason camps and his continued improvement last season. In Allar, Franklin sees a quarterback who can make a variety of plays.

"He’s a big kid who can stand in the pocket and deliver the ball," Franklin said on Signing Day. "I think people underestimated his athleticism as well. He does a great job making some of the plays that maybe aren't in the playbook in terms of extending plays and [making] off-balance throws with unbelievable accuracy. He's able to make some plays with his feet, too."

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