HomeCollege FootballPenn State Nittany LionsCFB Player Profile: Sean Clifford, Penn State

CFB Player Profile: Sean Clifford, Penn State

QB Sean Clifford, Penn State

HEIGHT: 6-2
WEIGHT: 216
HOMETOWN (HIGH SCHOOL): Cincinnati, OH (St. Xavier)
247 RATING: .9223
STARS: 4
YEAR: Junior
POSITION RANK: 26

CAREER
Passing: 2,849 yards (59.5%), 25 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Rushing: 399 yards (3.3 ypc), 5 touchdowns

2019
Passing: 2,654 yards (59.2%), 23 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Rushing: 402 yards (3.5 ypc), 5 touchdowns

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Sean Clifford Breakdown

STRENGTHS
– Quick release
– Running
– Touch
– Awareness
CONCERNS
– Impatient
– Ball placement
– Arm strength

Penn State’s lineage of quarterbacks includes a number of notable players, and head coach James Franklin brought the Nittany Lions to competitive level under those guys. Enter Sean Clifford, who took over a potential Top 10 team heading into the 2019. It was a learning process for both Penn State and Clifford, but his competitive nature will help him get through the struggles, and has already helped him bounce back during games.

Clifford wants to be great, and he’s a mentally strong player who doesn’t let mistakes compound often. If he makes a mistake, it doesn’t take long for him to move on to the next play. Despite being new to the offense, Clifford’s already established himself as a potential leader of the offense, and his teammates trust the he will find a way to be successful.

New offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca enters the picture, but that should help Clifford’s game. He has a quick release that helps him in the short to intermediate passing game, but ball placement led to some issues (he only completed 59.2% of his passes). Ciarrocca should help with those problems, and work on getting his arm strength better as well. Clifford’s shown that he can throw a nice ball over the top of a defender with some touch, but the consistency will have to get better.

Penn State’s running game featured the quarterback over the last few years, and they’ll do it again in 2020. Clifford’s not the quickest, but he’s a solid runner who’s aware of how many yards he needs to get. Sometimes, he relies on his legs too much, when sitting in the pocket would be a better option. It’s not bad when he can run, but sometimes he gets scared out of the pocket before he needs to leave. He’s still young in terms of both his development and experience at quarterback, so most of the concerns in his game should improve with repetition and time.  

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Joe Broback
Joe Broback
Joe Broback is a college football contributor for Sports and Fitness Digest.

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