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Our latest Penn State Nittany Lions Recruiting Question of the Day comes from Aaron Pearson (@APjames_):
Let’s quickly sort through Aaron’s question before jumping into it. He’s actually referencing two quarterbacks at the same time: Garrett Shrader (who lives in North Carolina) and Max Duggan (who lives in Iowa).
Both prospects picked up a Penn State offer last offseason, prior to their respective junior campaigns. The Nittany Lions also offered New Jersey quarterback Taquan Roberson in July 2017, securing his verbal commitment on Oct. 26.
More than five months later, Roberson remains Penn State’s most recent pledge in the 2019 recruiting class. Expect the group to gradually expand this spring, as a revolving door of campus visitors is set to change the complexion of several recruitments.
A second quarterback commitment certainly seems to be in play, and that’s something we noted at Land of 10 within minutes of Roberson’s midseason announcement.
Penn State is in excellent shape at quarterback this season, with program veterans Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens forming one of college football’s finest 1-2 tandems at the position. If things go according to plan, Stevens would step up for a one-and-done season as starter in 2019, when he will be a redshirt senior.
Beyond that, it’s imperative for Penn State to have a succession plan in place for a new era at quarterback. Sean Clifford claimed the No. 3 job last summer during his first collegiate training camp. Jake Zembiec, a redshirt sophomore, remains in the mix, while 2018 signee Will Levis enrolls next month.
Roberson, who led DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.) to a state championship last season while collecting 3,039 total yards and 34 touchdowns, draws similarities to McSorley in terms of size (6-foot, 185 pounds) and dual-threat abilities.
Shrader, a 6-5, 200-pound prospect, competed at a Nittany Lions camp in July 2017 alongside Roberson. He later returned for Penn State’s victory over Michigan, and recently admitted he considered a commitment to James Franklin and former offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
“I was getting warm,” Shrader told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. “They had a good recruiting class this year so I think that will help them out. All they need is another 2019 quarterback in the class and figuring out who their guy is going to be after Tommy Stevens.”
It turns out that guy won’t be Shrader, who committed to Moorhead (now Mississippi State’s coach) on Tuesday. The Bulldogs beat out primary contenders Penn State and South Carolina in this pursuit.
So where do the Nittany Lions turn next?
The aforementioned Duggan, who landed on Penn State’s target board last June, is likely a long shot. Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State and TCU seem to be top contenders to land his commitment, which is expected this spring, and each university welcomed him to campus in March.
Taisun Phommachanh, a coveted Connecticut quarterback who received his Penn State offer in February, provided positive reviews about his recent visit to Happy Valley last week during a discussion with Land of 10. His trip to State College followed late-March travels that led him to Florida, Florida State and Georgia. Clemson is another competitor to watch here, though proximity would seem to favor the Nittany Lions vs. any program from the Southeast.
Michael Johnson Jr. (Eugene, Ore.) is a longtime Penn State target, but there’s a lot of ground to make up with him (literally and figuratively). New offers, to uncommitted and committed quarterbacks alike, also are a possibility.
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