Things have been busy on the work front lately, with some extra columns and a few other assignments mixed into the typical weekly stuff, so I had to push off some of the more recent Penn State recruiting news until I had a few spare minutes, or just needed a break from all the other stuff. I have encountered the latter.
So, let’s take a look at how Penn State’s 2020 recruiting class is starting to fill, starting with the latest of the five high school stars to commit to the Nittany Lions.
This is quarterback Micah Bowens, a dual-threat quarterback from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School who the recruiting services pretty much agree on right now. Rivals.com, 247sports and ESPN all rank him as a three-star prospect.
Bowens clearly has some playmaking ability, and he shows off a pretty loose throwing arm in the passing game as well. In that way, he’s not unlike the two quarterbacks Penn State landed in the 2019 recruiting class, Michael Johnson and Ta’Quan Roberson. Physically speaking, he’s similar to Roberson and Penn State’s old star quarterback, Trace McSorley, as he’s listed as 6-foot. All three are tough runners. All three keep their eyes down the field.
None of this is particularly surprising, of course, because that’s the type of quarterback that fits the Penn State offense, and it’s the offense they want to continue to run in the future. Offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne recruited Bowens, after all, and Rahne has done a tremendous job bringing in quarterbacks that fit what the program needs. The big question, though, is whether Penn State will continue to pursue adding more quarterbacks in the 2020 class, even with Bowens on board and a pretty loaded room on campus this fall, with Tommy Stevens, redshirt sophomore Sean Clifford and redshirt freshman Will Levis already in the fold with Johnson and Roberson joining them. Only Stevens will not be on scholarship by the time Bowens is able to sign in December.
Two quarterbacks in this class is not a necessity. But, it might be a good idea.
After all, it’s the only position on the field where there is only one playing job, and teams generally don’t intend to rotate quarterbacks during the meaningful minutes. So, the job is either yours, or it isn’t. Penn State got lucky in a sense, because Stevens decided not to transfer last offseason when he could have, because if he did, they’d have just one experienced quarterback on the roster this season. But the deregulation of transfers that has been such a big story this offseason is going to be a major one for quarterbacks who aren’t at the top of the depth chart.
Penn State has already shown a bit of how it is approaching the 2020 class with the five players who have verbally committed to it already. Two are linebackers, four-star prospects Derek Wingo and Curtis Jacobs, and another is offensive tackle Grant Toutant. All three come in at positions that need to be replenished. The fifth member of the class, so far, is cornerback Joshua Moten, and Penn State has hit the defensive backfield hard in recent years on the recruiting trail.
Expect Penn State to seek out a few more linebackers and offensive linemen leading up to December, but it will be most interesting to see how hard they press for another quarterback. Sticking with just Bowens in this class might signify how comfortable the coaching staff is that the quarterbacks currently on the roster will stay patient until playing time arrives. Adding a second is probably a sign that they’re going to hedge their bets at the position until some more consistent trends start to develop with quarterbacks and the transfer market down the road.