What to expect from Penn State QB Drew Allar in 2024?

Penn State quarterback Drew Allar had a solid first-year as a starter for the Nittany Lions, but can the former five-star recruit turn it up a notch in 2024?
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ole Miss v Penn State
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ole Miss v Penn State / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Penn State quarterback Drew Allar had a solid campaign as a full-time starter under center in State College, but the 19-year old pass thrower underperformed in prominent games in 2023. What can Penn State fans and the college football community expect from Allar heading into his third overall season, but second as a full-time starter?

Allar was rated as a five-star prospect by 247Sports out of Medina High School in Medina, Ohio. Allar stands at 6-foot-5, 243Ibs and owns the prototypical size of a pro-style quarterback. The Penn State football quarterback has supreme arm strength, can scramble if need be, and can throw the ball with solid accuracy. Allar tallied 2,631 passing yards, 25 touchdown passes, and only two interceptions in 2023.

The Nittany Lions quarterback showed flashes of a player who can thrive in the NFL someday, while also having shown flashes of not being able to handle the pressure of a big-time matchup. Penn State's identity is mainly about playing smash-mouth defense while having a productive rushing attack. In 2023, the Penn State football defense ranked second in total defense by having allowed only 4.1 yards per play. On the ground, the rushing attack led by Kaytron Allen averaged 4.7 yards per rush collectively.

Allar for the most part just had to protect the football (which he did) and rise to the occasion when needed, which he didn't. The former five-star recruit shined against teams such as West Virginia (3 touchdowns, 72.4 completion %), Michigan State (292 passing yards, 185.1 QB RTG) and Delaware (84.6 completion %, 163.2 QB RTG) just to name a few. When it came to playing against Big 10 heavy-weight rivals Ohio State and Michigan, Allar posted a combined statline of 261 passing yards, 2 touchdowns while having completed 44% of his passes and a QBR of 46.8, respectively.

Yes, the defenses of Ohio State and Michigan were top-tier, but both games were winnable and the Penn State defense held its own until it got tired after being on the field for an excessive amount of time. Against the Buckeyes, the Penn State offense was 1/16 on third down efficiency and was 4/14 in the same category against the Wolverines. The Nittany Lions also lost the time of possession battle against the Wolverines and the Buckeyes collectively (67:36- 52).

Penn State football has been touted as the third-rate program behind Ohio State and Michigan in the Big-10, and 2023 was supposed to be the year head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lions finally broke through. The Nittany Lions have lost the last seven matchups against Ohio State and the last three against Michigan. The Nittany Lions have always been a solid-to-good team with five double-digit win seasons since Franklin arrived in 2014. Unfortunately, Franklin and the Nittany Lions have been criticized for not being able to win the two games that matter most annually. When Allar's time came to be the full-time starter at State College last season, expectations rose as he was one of the top prospects of the 2022 recruiting class, and the Penn State roster was brimming with talent.

Fortunately, the Wolverines are not on the Penn State slate in 2024, but the revamped Buckeyes will visit State College in November.

The glaring issue for Penn State football in 2023 was its lack of weapons in the receiving core. In 2023, the Nittany Lions top wideout was Keandre Lambert-Smith, who tallied 53 receptions for 673 yards and four touchdowns. Tight-ends Tyler Warren (34 catches) and Theo Johnson (34 catches) and rusher Nicholas Singleton (26 catches) had more catches than the second-most productive wideout Dante Cephas (22 catches).

However, Penn State did acquire former Ohio State wideout Julian Fleming via the transfer portal after last season. Fleming was the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2020 recruiting class and spent four seasons with the Buckeyes. The former Buckeyes pass catcher didn't produce as much as expected throughout his tenure, but he's likely to get a lot of targets for Franklin's offense in 2024. As a fifth-year senior, Fleming should be a vocal leader in the receiver room and be a solid contributor to the Nittany Lions struggling passing attack.


It's fair to say that there is pressure on Allar and especially Franklin heading into 2024. Penn State football has yet to play in a College Football Playoff game since its inception in 2014, and since the format is expanding to 12 teams this upcoming season, the Nittany Lions have to be in the mix but it starts and ends with Allar and Franklin.