Penn State's Quarterback Conundrum: How Paul Jones Could Change Everything
The supposed gem for Penn State was Paul Jones, a 6'3" and 245-lb. strong-armed gunslinger from the Pittsburgh area.
Instead, Jones was derailed by academic issues and the emergence of fellow recruit Robert Bolden last year. Both Jones and Bolden were true freshmen in 2010. As the season approached, head coach Joe Paterno and his son Jay, the coach for the quarterbacks, decided to redshirt Jones.
Bolden went on to start the season for Penn State as a true freshman until he faltered, due to poor play and a concussion. Bolden ended up losing his job to former walk-on Matt McGloin.
McGloin would go on to put up impressive numbers but the honeymoon was over in Happy Valley after he tossed five interceptions against the Florida Gators in the Outback Bowl.
And now here we are, six months after the Outback Bowl, and while much has changed at Penn State regarding the quarterbacks, it pretty much looks the same.
Bolden has requested a transfer, which Paterno has subsequently denied. Bolden's father wants him to transfer yet his mother would like him to stand resolute and finish his college days out in State College.
McGloin didn't do much in the Spring to separate himself from Bolden. The aftershocks from McGloin's performance in the Outback Bowl continue to linger as well. Was he a one-hit wonder like Miami's Jacory Harris or will he pick things back up in 2011?
Which QB would give Penn State he best opportunity to win the Big Ten?
The wild card is Paul Jones. The highly-touted passer has drawn comparisons to former Syracuse passer and NFL star Donovan McNabb. His monstrous size and strong arm have given him comparisons to both Bolden and McGloin.
Unfortunately, the only thing stopping Jones right now is Jones himself.
After igniting the masses in Beaver Stadium during the 2010 Blue-White Game, Jones' redshirted. This paved the way for Bolden and McGloin. Now, with the dead-heat between both Bolden and McGloin in regards to the starting quarterback position, Jones has an opportunity to play spoiler for both.
If Bolden indeed transfers, Jones moves up to number two on the depth chart behind McGloin. If McGloin struggles early on, then we may finally get to see Jones take his shot at opposing defenses on Saturday's.
The western Pennsylvania native was a star in high school for Sto-Rox in McKees Rocks. He was featured in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which highlights the best high school players in the country.
Without a doubt, the talent is there for Jones. He just needs to take advantage of the opportunity at hand and run with it. If he does, it is possible that he could shock the Big Ten, and more importantly the nation, and help give Penn State a needed boost offensively.
Hypothetically, Jones could end up starting by October. That is a reasonable projection. Given the uncertainty surrounding both Bolden and McGloin, and how Paterno has yet to name a starting quarterback, this is the moment Jones needs to seize.
If he is half-as-good as advertised, he might be better than Bolden and McGloin. But, if the McNabb comparisons come to fruition, then Penn State may have a magical journey in front of them.
Only time will tell but the speculation is healthy in regards to solving this puzzle at quarterback in Penn State.
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