Bill O’Brien will be busy this fall trying to decide his quarterback situation for the Penn State Nittany Lions heading into 2013. Junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson broke spring camp as the favorite (a position that was strengthened by the transfer of Steven Bench) but will be challenged by incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg, the No. 1 quarterback recruit in the 2013 class. While Ferguson and Hackenberg battle it out this August for the starter’s job, a third option may emerge in walk-on quarterback Jack Seymour.
Because of the heavy sanctions levied against them by the NCAA, Penn State relies on walk-ons to become major contributors to the program. Matt McGloin was a former walk-on who became one of the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten last season. Seymour could follow that same path and surprise some people. He has the arm to play major college football and put up very impressive numbers on a bad prep team, getting several offers from the MAC before deciding to come to Penn State as a walk-on instead. In time, he could find his way onto the field.
Seymour is one of just two quarterbacks that O’Brien and his staff have fully scouted and recruited (the other being Hackenberg). There is obviously a lot that the Penn State coaching staff likes about Seymour’s game and if he proves to be a quick study in the offense, he could move his way up the depth chart in a hurry. Ferguson and Hackenberg may cap his rise at No. 3 on the depth chart, but that would still put him a strong position to contribute in 2013 and could lead to him challenging for the starter’s job down the line.
The headlines in fall camp will focus on the back-and-forth between Ferguson and Hackenberg for the No. 1 quarterback role, but don’t overlook Seymour. If he proves he is smart enough to grasp the college game, he could play his way into a significant role on this team next season and for the next several years.