Being in a rare position of playing immediately at whichever program he chooses, Penn State Nittany Lions QB transfer Steven Bench has been off to a good start so far as it pertains to weighing his options for 2013. It’s already been reported that the quarterback has interests in both the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the South Florida Bulls, both of whom are in need of an experienced signal caller.
Now, you can add a third school to the Bench wish list, the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
A source close to Bench confirmed to Joe Schad of ESPN that the PSU transfer has some interest in joining the Wolfpack and first-year head coach Dave Doeren this season. This officially adds NC State as the third team to entertain the idea of bringing in the QB, who was once thought of as a near lock to replace Matt McGloin in Happy Valley this season. However, after the spring game was over, Bench was informed by Nittany Lions head coach Bill O’Brien that Tyler Ferguson and incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg would more than likely be the two to battle it out for the starting job come August. A few days later, Bench announced his transfer intentions.
Mississippi State and South Florida are in desperate need of a solid QB right at the moment and could be in better shape with Bench on campus as soon as possible. NC State, on the other hand, confuses me just a little bit.
Should Bench decide to attend the ACC school, the offense that he will be in command of will be night and day in comparison to what he ran at Penn State. Bill O’Briens system is very heavy on the pro-style attack, while Doeren’s at NC State is very up-tempo and mobile quarterback friendly. Now we haven’t seen yet if Doeren is going to tweak his system at all now that he is up against stiffer competition in a BCS conference, but you would still have to imagine that a drop back, tall-in-the-pocket-type QB isn’t exactly what he needs.
Also, there is the issue of the quarterback transfer that NC State has already taken in. Although he isn’t eligible to play until next season, many are banking on Florida Gator transfer Jacoby Brissett taking over the offense in 2014, regardless of what happens this year. While Bench has already proven that he isn’t afraid of competition, would he really want that hanging over his head again? Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the mobility added to Brissett’s strong arm makes him a much more likely candidate than Bench to run the offense.
Either way, Bench still has three years of eligibility remaining, plus an available redshirt season. Wherever he does choose to take his talents, he had better be looking at the long-term.