When former Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin accepted the Penn State coaching on job Jan. 11 he did not stop contacting Briar Woods quarterback Trace McSorley, whom he had recruited to play for the Commodores. He loved what the senior All-Met brought to the position as a dual-threat quarterback and wanted him to be a part of the Nittany Lions program.
Monday, McSorley de-committed from Vanderbilt and switched his oral commitment to Penn State on his way back to Ashburn after a weekend visit to State College with his parents.
“When you walk on campus, you can feel how big football is there,” McSorley said. “There are so many possibilities as a Penn State graduate. It just seemed like endless opportunities when you think about it. They have a network of over 600,000 graduates and are a highly-rated academic school. Once I got there, I saw there weren’t many places that can beat it.”
The 6-foot-1 signal-caller committed to Vanderbilt in July and had an official visit scheduled for Jan. 24 with several other high-profile recruits. He will instead head to Happy Valley next weekend for his official visit to the vast campus. He is one of several area recruits joining the Nittany Lions next fall, joining Fairfax All-Met running back Nick Scott, Wise defensive back Marcus Allen and DeMatha running back Mark Allen.
McSorley arrived at Penn State Sunday, and took in a wrestling match featuring the top-ranked Nittany Lions program. He said the arena, Rec Hall, was packed, which immediately drew him more to the Big Ten Conference school. After the wrestling match he got a first-hand look at massive Beaver Stadium, which seats more than 100,000 fans.
“It was pretty amazing,” McSorley said. “We walked out through the tunnel to the stadium and it gave me chills.
McSorley will sign his National Letter-of-Intent Feb. 5 at Briar Woods, but the commitment brings an end to a whirlwind two-week stretch. McSorley will add another dynamic to the Penn State quarterback depth chart with the ability to make highlight plays with his legs. The other quarterback commit in the class of 2014 is a pocket passer, and current starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg is a pro-style quarterback.
During his four-year run at the helm for the Falcons, McSorley totaled 10,065 passing yards, 111 passing touchdowns and rushed for 2,005 yards and 38 scores while leading Briar Woods to its first three Virginia state championships.
With the switch, McSorley will also be closer to home. The drive to Penn State is just about three hours from Ashburn.
Most importantly for McSorley, however, is the fact that he will be able to play for the coach he committed to in July.
“When [Franklin] made the switch, I was disappointed,” McSorley said. “I wanted to play for him and he kept in contact with me and said he wanted me up there. I kept thinking about it more, then did research on their academics, and the more I found out, the more I liked it and it felt like the right place.”