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Why Tommy Stevens Stays, And Why Penn State Fans Should Hope He Continues To

by on April 23, 2017 10:10 AM

To be crystal clear, Penn State doesn't have a quarterback controversy. Trace McSorley is the guy to run the Nittany Lions' offense and nothing that he did on Saturday and nothing he can do in the next several months will change that.

But it was once again hard not to be impressed by Tommy Stevens as he put on a 17-for-24, 216 yard, two TD performance Saturday afternoon, all in the second half.

Sure he was playing against a reserve defense, but hardly anything Stevens has ever done in a Penn State uniform has come across as underwhelming. He stands tall in the pocket, moves well outside of it, can take a hit and throws the ball maybe a bit harder and maybe even a bit crisper than McSorley. Could he have pulled off all of the spectacular plays McSorley engineered in 2016? Maybe, maybe not. It doesn't really matter.

What does matter is the growing consensus that Stevens is perhaps Penn State's most valuable asset that never actually plays. There is an argument to be made that Stevens could start at many, many programs and could start today. A fact that becomes even more relevant when you consider McSorley very well might stay for his senior season, and in turn that would limit Stevens to just a single year as the starter.

Plenty of quarterbacks have impressed in just one year, but you get the feeling Stevens could have multiple years under his belt nearly anywhere else.

Then again he doesn't have a bad gig, it's a low-pressure affair, with high-quality coaching and afternoons like Saturday to showcase your skills. If Stevens is content to wait for his time to shine, then there is no reason to leave, but if you feel like you could play anywhere, wouldn't you want to?

You can only hypothesize for so long, so we may as well ask him. Why did you decide to stay?

"A lot of it had to do with the guys around me," Stevens said on Saturday. "Top to bottom the coaching staff, friends, I love this place, I've had a lot of good times, my friends are here, I love these coaches so ultimately I think this is still the best place for me." 

So Stevens will stay and with it Penn State will keep a massively important asset in the wings behind McSorley. It's a fact that doesn't go overlooked as coach James Franklin gives Stevens about as much praise as a backup quarterback has ever gotten, and a fact that will become even more apparent if Stevens ever hits the field in a close game.

Because as you might recall, McSorley found himself in that exact same position not too long ago on a cloudy day in Jacksonville.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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