POSITION PREVIEW: Quarterback

Last Wednesday, FOS broke the news that Pat Devlin had left the Pen State football program. With serious questions about the depth of the position, it makes sense to review the Nittany Lions' options headed into 2009.

As Pat Devlin packed his bags to depart from Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions began looking for short-term QB depth solutions for the Rose Bowl in senior QB Paul Cianciolo and senior wideout Derrick Williams. However, with both slated to graduate, neither player will be around for the 2009 season to contribute to the quarterback depth.

The question of the starting job in 2009 is all but set with All-Big Ten quarterback Daryll Clark returning. However, with Devlin's departure, concerns are swirling about the backup role for next season. Here is a review of the candidates.

Brett Brackett (6-foot-6, 235): Brackett was an outstanding quarterback in high school. He showed good mobility and had offers from programs like Boston College, North Carolina State, Louisville and Rutgers. Brackett began his PSU career as a QB but saw plenty of time at wideout on the foreign team while redshirting in 2006. He moved to wideout full-time in 2007 and saw limited action as a reserve. In 2008, he has played in 12 games and caught 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Last Friday, Brackett saw some reps at the QB spot. Although described as "rusty," observers feel he needs some time to get back into his passing groove.

Bottom Line: Brackett is helping out now as a stop-gap measure. With three senior wideouts graduating, he'll be needed as a probable starter there in 2009.

Matt McGloin (6-1, 190): A true freshman walk-on from West Scranton High, McGloin has solid skills as a passer. He ran Penn State's scout team during the regular season. "He has a cannon of an arm," an observer said. "He really can deliver the ball — not like Anthony Morelli, but I'd say he has a bigger arm than Daryll and Pat. He's just a bit undersized. He can run, but I don't know if he has the mobility for designed runs."

Bottom Line: McGloin has been a nice find for the Lions and will be in the mix for a backup role next all.

Curtis Drake: A member of the Class of 2009, Drake has yet to even enroll at PSU and was presumably recruited as a wideout or defensive back. But he played quarteback at West Catholic High in Philadelphia and led his team to the PIAA AA state title game. He completed 62 percent of his passes for 1,292 yards and 15 TDs. But he was known more as a running threat, with 1,527 yards and 20 TDs on the ground.

Bottom Line: We expect Drake to played receiver or defensive back at Penn State unless the Lions are in dire need of depth at QB.

Kevin Newsome (6-3, 213): Yeah, we know, Newsome has not even committed to Penn State, at least not publicly. The press conference where he will announce his college choice takes place Tuesday.

Newsome is a big, physical quarterback who moves well and has a good but not great arm. Sound familiar? If anything, he is said to be a step quicker than Clark.

With the new Spead HD offense at Penn State, the staff is clearly committing to mobile QBs who can keep opposing defense honest. With than in mind, we're guessing Newsome will commit to the Nittany Lions.

He intends to enroll at whatever school he chooses in January, so he'll have a chance to learn the playbook in the winter and spring. And if he lands at Penn State, that will give him a great chance to emerge as the second-teamer.

Bottom Line: If he picks the Lions, look for Newsome to make a rapid climb up the depth chart.

The (Early) Verdict: Brackett is out of the mix or '09 barring disaster. He's needed at wideout. McGloin has the look of a third-teamer for '09. Expect Drake to redshirt in '09. That leaves Newsome as the most likely second teamer, provided he picks PSU.

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