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Reports: Tommy Stevens Will Not Return to Penn State

by on April 18, 2019 5:48 PM

A day after it was learned Penn State's Tommy Stevens entered his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal, his father has confirmed the senior quarterback will not return to the Nittany Lions, according to reports by The Athletic's Audrey Snyder and the Centre Daily Times' John McGonigal.

Stevens' father, Tom, said his son is "certainly leaving Penn State," and that he doesn't "think that he’ll be welcome back at this point if he wanted to come back,” McGonigal reported.

The elder Stevens told Snyder that he didn't think Penn State's starting quarterback job had been decided, but, "We couldn’t wait for that process to go on until August when this is Tommy’s last shot."

By entering the portal, Stevens was not bound to transferring and could have returned to Penn State. As a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately.

Stevens was limited in spring practice and did not play in the Blue-White game as he continued to recover from a surgery for a lingering injury that also kept him from traveling to the season-ending Citrus Bowl. He saw limited action during the 2018 season as a quarterback and the specialized "Lion" position that also saw him used as a running back and receiver.

Redshirt sophomore Sean Clifford — who was 5-of-7 for 195 yards in 2018 — took first team snaps through much of the spring and in the Blue-White Game, where he was 11-of-19 passing for 118 yards.

Stevens had long been viewed as the logical successor to Trace McSorley, whom Stevens battled for the starting quarterback job three years ago. Prior to the 2018 season, Stevens explored the possibility of transferring but decided to stay in anticipation of larger role in the offense and eventually the starting job in 2019.

Coach James Franklin said in February that Stevens would the No. 1 quarterback heading into spring drills. But after the Blue-White Game and Stevens' limited action throughout practices, Franklin was non-committal about who the Nittany Lions' starting signal caller would be.

"Tommy’s situation puts us in a tough spot because he had an injury that made it difficult," Franklin said. "Obviously, we want to name the starter as soon as we possibly can. But, we’re not ready to do that right now. It’s going to be more of a true competition."

Will Levis, who redshirted in 2018, was the No. 3 QB this spring behind Stevens and Clifford, throwing for 86 yards on 4-of-7 passing in the Blue-White Game. 

The Nittany Lions also will have a pair of well-regarded freshman quarterbacks on the roster as well, with four-star recruits Michael Johnson Jr. and Ta'Quan Roberson, both of whom enrolled in January. In the Blue-White Game, Johnson was 4-of-4 for 36 yards and Roberson was 3-of-9 for 19 yards.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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