Football Transfer Tracker: Where former Lions landed, how they fared in 2021

BBG65

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I saw a 2023 mock draft that had Will Levis as the 1st player picked. I said then and this reinforces it that Franklin made a huge mistake when he played Clifford ahead of Levis back in 2020 when Clifford was struggling. Levis wasn't really more productive at the time, but had a much higher upside.
 

NittanyIllinois

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I saw a 2023 mock draft that had Will Levis as the 1st player picked. I said then and this reinforces it that Franklin made a huge mistake when he played Clifford ahead of Levis back in 2020 when Clifford was struggling. Levis wasn't really more productive at the time, but had a much higher upside.

He'll definitely be drafted well -- probably 1st round if he has a productive season. But barring something unexpected, I'd be very surprised to see him go ahead of CJ Stroud (or even Bryce Young). Most mocks I've seen do have Levis as a top-10 pick, though. I love his physicality, but as a thrower, he's not even remotely in the same league as CJ Stroud.

I was not one who believed that it was obvious that Levis should play over Clifford. He was horrendous in that 2019 Rutgers home game, and didn't look great against Nebraska in 2020. I thought he was solid in the 2020 Iowa game after Clifford self-destructed, and it was clear that he seemed to have a higher upside -- even if unproven.


(you can bet it'll be used against Franklin in future QB recruiting battles when Levis gets drafted high while Clifford joins the club of former Franklin QBs who ultimately stagnate in college and do little in the pros).
 

LeatherHelmets

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In hindsight, OSU didn't make the right call on Joe Burrow. I'm sure there are other examples. Glad to see Levis doing well but post-Levis, we landed Allar and Pribula and are in the mix for some top QB talent.
 

NittanyIllinois

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In hindsight, OSU didn't make the right call on Joe Burrow. I'm sure there are other examples. Glad to see Levis doing well but post-Levis, we landed Allar and Pribula and are in the mix for some top QB talent.
That's true. Hindsight is always 20/20. Anybody who claimed in 2020 that Levis was a future top-10 pick would have been called crazy. He was not the obvious guy in 2020.

At least w/ OSU, the guy that beat out Burrow threw for almost 5,000 yards and 50 TDs in a single season and finished as a Heisman finalist (and then got Justin Fields the next season -- also a Heisman finalist). In our case, we're not getting high performance out of the QB position (although we all hope Clifford does this year).
 

Elwood Blues

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My recollection of Levis was that despite his many positives, he just wasn't particularly accurate. I didn't see him play much at UK - did he improve significantly?
 
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NittanyIllinois

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My recollection of Levis was that despite his many positives, he just wasn't particularly accurate. I didn't see him play much at UK - did he improve significantly?

Yeah......he wasn't accurate here at Penn State except for the Iowa game in 2020.

Last year, he was at 66% completion percentage. Fun fact -- other than Trace in 2017, we haven't had a starting QB with a completion % of 65%+ since Kerry Collins in '94. In fact, very rarely do our QBs go north of 60%. Pretty surprising when I ran the numbers.

Notably for Levis, here's how he performed last year against talented teams:

Georgia: 32/42, 192 yards, 2 TDs/O Ints
LSU: 14/17, 145 yards, 3 TDs/O Ints
Florida: 7/17, 87 yards, 1 TD/1 Int
Tennessee: 31/49, 372 yards, 3 TDs/1 Int
Iowa: 17/28, 233 yards, 1 TD/1 Int

Not bad on the whole, although UK avoided Alabama, Texas A&M, Arkansas, etc.

I just don't see a #1 pick.
 
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ram2020

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I have said this a million times and I dare anyone to prove me wrong......every QB under Franklin becomes less productive and hurt the more seasons they mature in the program. Hack, Trace, Clifford......none of the them get better, empirically, as they play more seasons. I am not anti-franklin, but he is a terrible QB developer. It's shocking because he played the position, but when you watch his old tapes it's him just running around like a crazy man slinging back yard balls. Stevens and Levis, regardless of where Levis goes in his football future, were strictly used as battering rams. Coupled with the fact that Franklin is fully loyal to his starter, there was no chance that Levis was going to be able to put anything on film for a crack at the NFL here, he believed he could be a QB, and he went to a program willing to let him...you know, throw the ball and stuff. It's going to change the trajectory of his entire life. Whether Franklin made the right decision re Clifford/Levis is immaterial, I am much more concerned about the fact that Clifford has not improved and Levis goes to another program and is all of a sudden considered a 1st round pick. I'm still blown away Allar and Pribula came here considering our history at the QB position, but history says this will end poorly. One will transfer and have probably have success at another program, the other will stay and get worse with each start.
 
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NittanyIllinois

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I have said this a million times and I dare anyone to prove me wrong......every QB under Franklin becomes less productive and hurt the more seasons they mature in the program. Hack, Trace, Clifford......none of the them get better, empirically, as they play more seasons. I am not anti-franklin, but he is a terrible QB developer. It's shocking because he played the position, but when you watch his old tapes it's him just running around like a crazy man slinging back yard balls. Stevens and Levis, regardless of where Levis goes in his football future, were strictly used as battering rams. Coupled with the fact that Franklin is fully loyal to his starter, there was no chance that Levis was going to be able to put anything on film for a crack at the NFL here, he believed he could be a QB, and he went to a program willing to let him...you know, throw the ball and stuff. It's going to change the trajectory of his entire life. Whether Franklin made the right decision re Clifford/Levis is immaterial, I am much more concerned about the fact that Clifford has not improved and Levis goes to another program and is all of a sudden considered a 1st round pick. I'm still blown away Allar and Pribula came here considering our history at the QB position, but history says this will end poorly. One will transfer and have probably have success at another program, the other will stay and get worse with each start.

Franklin's views of QBs remind me of Urban Meyer's. They have to be able to throw obviously (Tebow and JT Barrett threw for a ton of yards and TDs, after all), but they really prioritize guys who run......and run physically.

Ryan Day changed the dynamic with Dwayne Haskins. Maybe Yurcich can change the dynamic with Allar? Pribula is definitely more in Franklin's mold......I'm fascinated to see how much latitude Yurcich has to implement a pass-first pocket QB system if that's indeed what he wants.

A Jadyn Davis would be perfect for what Franklin envisions (doubt we get him). Problem is, if you're an elite QB like Davis being pursued by other elite programs, Franklin's track record with QBs probably provides a moment of pause.
 
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ram2020

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Franklin's views of QBs remind me of Urban Meyer's. They have to be able to throw obviously (Tebow and JT Barrett threw for a ton of yards and TDs, after all), but they really prioritize guys who run......and run physically.

Ryan Day changed the dynamic with Dwayne Haskins. Maybe Yurcich can change the dynamic with Allar? Pribula is definitely more in Franklin's mold......I'm fascinated to see how much latitude Yurcich has to implement a pass-first pocket QB system if that's indeed what he wants.

A Jadyn Davis would be perfect for what Franklin envisions (doubt we get him). Problem is, if you're an elite QB like Davis being pursued by other elite programs, Franklin's track record with QBs probably provides a moment of pause.

Yup, good points and comparison. Speaking of Urban's teams Tebow and Barett were both>>>Trace/Clifford unfortunately same with the linemen and all the rest of the positions mostly. I too hope MY can take the reigns over more and more. I actually noticed a concerted effort to keep CLifford in the pocket at the beginning of last year, and considering he had 0 run game to support him, CLifford looked fairly good really. Clifford can run, make no mistake, but he is not what I would consider a true Running QB. This is'nt Michael Vick or Cam newton. I also think we have enough evidence in both college and the pros to sort of suggest you get "One or the other" in terms of wonderful athlete running the ball or accurate smart pocket QB. The REALLY good ones do both fairly well, none of them seem to do both really well. I for one would like my running backs to be the ones carrying the ball with the threat of the QB taking pulling it on occasion. Back to Ryan Day, think about Justin Fields utilization. He would run 3 or 4 times a game, typically outside of the pocket or on a obvious QB draw type where he had time to stride out of bounds or slide. It has been malpractice watching Clifford and Levis bang in between the tackles like full backs for 2 and 3 yard gains. I've heard Franklin actually say "Clifford needs to finish more of his runs, " and I scratch my head. As long as our QBs are a MAJOR focus of our running game, they will continue to regress in the pocket, regress with accuracy, and get hurt.
 

NittanyIllinois

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Yup, good points and comparison. Speaking of Urban's teams Tebow and Barett were both>>>Trace/Clifford unfortunately same with the linemen and all the rest of the positions mostly. I too hope MY can take the reigns over more and more. I actually noticed a concerted effort to keep CLifford in the pocket at the beginning of last year, and considering he had 0 run game to support him, CLifford looked fairly good really. Clifford can run, make no mistake, but he is not what I would consider a true Running QB. This is'nt Michael Vick or Cam newton. I also think we have enough evidence in both college and the pros to sort of suggest you get "One or the other" in terms of wonderful athlete running the ball or accurate smart pocket QB. The REALLY good ones do both fairly well, none of them seem to do both really well. I for one would like my running backs to be the ones carrying the ball with the threat of the QB taking pulling it on occasion. Back to Ryan Day, think about Justin Fields utilization. He would run 3 or 4 times a game, typically outside of the pocket or on a obvious QB draw type where he had time to stride out of bounds or slide. It has been malpractice watching Clifford and Levis bang in between the tackles like full backs for 2 and 3 yard gains. I've heard Franklin actually say "Clifford needs to finish more of his runs, " and I scratch my head. As long as our QBs are a MAJOR focus of our running game, they will continue to regress in the pocket, regress with accuracy, and get hurt.
Good post — totally agree. The Justin Fields note is so true. Many assume he was a run first guy, but he rarely ran. When he did, he was lethal. But it was never his first option. Trevor Lawrence was similar. That’s the ideal QB style, IMO. Clifford can fit that style well.
 

ram2020

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Good post — totally agree. The Justin Fields note is so true. Many assume he was a run first guy, but he rarely ran. When he did, he was lethal. But it was never his first option. Trevor Lawrence was similar. That’s the ideal QB style, IMO. Clifford can fit that style well.
Bam!!!
 
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KC-KS-Lion

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Yup, good points and comparison. Speaking of Urban's teams Tebow and Barett were both>>>Trace/Clifford unfortunately same with the linemen and all the rest of the positions mostly. I too hope MY can take the reigns over more and more. I actually noticed a concerted effort to keep CLifford in the pocket at the beginning of last year, and considering he had 0 run game to support him, CLifford looked fairly good really. Clifford can run, make no mistake, but he is not what I would consider a true Running QB. This is'nt Michael Vick or Cam newton. I also think we have enough evidence in both college and the pros to sort of suggest you get "One or the other" in terms of wonderful athlete running the ball or accurate smart pocket QB. The REALLY good ones do both fairly well, none of them seem to do both really well. I for one would like my running backs to be the ones carrying the ball with the threat of the QB taking pulling it on occasion. Back to Ryan Day, think about Justin Fields utilization. He would run 3 or 4 times a game, typically outside of the pocket or on a obvious QB draw type where he had time to stride out of bounds or slide. It has been malpractice watching Clifford and Levis bang in between the tackles like full backs for 2 and 3 yard gains. I've heard Franklin actually say "Clifford needs to finish more of his runs, " and I scratch my head. As long as our QBs are a MAJOR focus of our running game, they will continue to regress in the pocket, regress with accuracy, and get hurt.
Although an unexpected run from a QB can be an effective play in the college game, there are risks with it being a bigger part of the game plan and the QBs repertoire, among them injury, predictability, and delay in QB development. We'll see if Franklin changes his strategy with the new group of QBs. The unknown/uncertainty is potential and unfortunately that doesn't play out for a few years and sometimes wasted playing time (giving it to those who don't develop or not giving it to those who could/have done elsewhere).
 

tlbakernc

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I saw a 2023 mock draft that had Will Levis as the 1st player picked. I said then and this reinforces it that Franklin made a huge mistake when he played Clifford ahead of Levis back in 2020 when Clifford was struggling. Levis wasn't really more productive at the time, but had a much higher upside.
Levis is a one dimensional QB. He can run the ball and throw short passes. When he was at PSU he could hit deep or intermediate passes. He also couldn’t read a defense. Not a lot has changed at UK. He has first round body, arm, running ability. That’s where it stops.

*Corrected my previous post! Levis and his father never demanded to named the starting QB. It was Tommy Stevens and his father that made the demand. My apologies to all, especially Levis and his family. I did not mean to put a negative light on Levis.
 
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NittanyIllinois

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It wasn’t Franklin that made the mistake. It was Levis and his father. They met in Franklin’s office and demanded Levis be named the starter or he was transferring. Think the meeting took place immediately after spring practice. Franklin wisely said the decision would be made until season started. Levis is a one dimensional QB. He can run the ball and throw short passes. When he was at PSU he could hit deep or intermediate passes. He also couldn’t read a defense. Not a lot has changed at UK. He has first round body, arm, running ability. That’s where it stops.

This is a case where I suspect the mock draft folks are assuming that his arm talent will come around to match his physical tools. He improved tremendously from 2020 to 2021. If he makes a similar leap in 2022, he's a high pick.

But as it stands right now? Not even close.

Compare him with CJ Stroud or Bryce Young, and the differences are glaring. Sure, he has an NFL body. Young is pretty small, and Stroud is mostly a pocket QB. But NFL scouts aren't gonna take Levis over Stroud because Levis is ripped and bulldozes people. Stroud makes NFL throws as a college sophomore. Levis isn't even close to that.

Levis has a lot of work to do if he's gonna stay atop these mock drafts. Until then, this stuff is cannon fodder for message boards, and that's about it.
 
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PSULionsDub

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It wasn’t Franklin that made the mistake. It was Levis and his father. They met in Franklin’s office and demanded Levis be named the starter or he was transferring. Think the meeting took place immediately after spring practice. Franklin wisely said the decision would be made until season started. Levis is a one dimensional QB. He can run the ball and throw short passes. When he was at PSU he could hit deep or intermediate passes. He also couldn’t read a defense. Not a lot has changed at UK. He has first round body, arm, running ability. That’s where it stops.
I'm pretty sure that Levis and his Father did not demand that Levis be named the Starter. Levis said publicly that no matter what he did or how well he performed, he was not going to get a chance to be the Starter. This is also why Levis said publicly that Kentucky "believed" in his abilities. Kentucky did not name Levis the starter on day one, he had to come in to practice and earn the starting job. Levis felt he had a better opportunity to be a starting quarterback elsewhere than at Penn State. If you do a google search, you can see that the news reports of Levis' transfer happened in February 2021, which was the beginning of the Spring so he did not wait until after Spring practice to officially transfer.
 
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PSULionsDub

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It wasn’t Franklin that made the mistake. It was Levis and his father. They met in Franklin’s office and demanded Levis be named the starter or he was transferring. Think the meeting took place immediately after spring practice. Franklin wisely said the decision would be made until season started. Levis is a one dimensional QB. He can run the ball and throw short passes. When he was at PSU he could hit deep or intermediate passes. He also couldn’t read a defense. Not a lot has changed at UK. He has first round body, arm, running ability. That’s where it stops.
I do remember that Tommy Stevens and his Father made some demands of Coach Franklin, and I believe these demands happened after Spring practice because Stevens could not afford to go into his "last season" with uncertainty related to whether he would be a starting quarterback or not.
 
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NittanyIllinois

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I do remember that Tommy Stevens and his Father made some demands of Coach Franklin, and I believe these demands happened after Spring practice because Stevens could not afford to go into his "last season" with uncertainty related to whether he would be a starting quarterback or not.

Yeah......are we sure that wasn't the Tommy Stevens situation? I don't remember hearing that about Levis.
 

The Spin Meister

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An altered state
Yeah......he wasn't accurate here at Penn State except for the Iowa game in 2020.

Last year, he was at 66% completion percentage. Fun fact -- other than Trace in 2017, we haven't had a starting QB with a completion % of 65%+ since Kerry Collins in '94. In fact, very rarely do our QBs go north of 60%. Pretty surprising when I ran the numbers.

Notably for Levis, here's how he performed last year against talented teams:

Georgia: 32/42, 192 yards, 2 TDs/O Ints
LSU: 14/17, 145 yards, 3 TDs/O Ints
Florida: 7/17, 87 yards, 1 TD/1 Int
Tennessee: 31/49, 372 yards, 3 TDs/1 Int
Iowa: 17/28, 233 yards, 1 TD/1 Int

Not bad on the whole, although UK avoided Alabama, Texas A&M, Arkansas, etc.

I just don't see a #1 pick.
Levis benefited bigly because UK was mainly a running team. Look at those stats. Lots of games with low number of pass attempts. But watching his games announcers would often be impressed with his quick release. Really got rid the ball fast.
 

Delcolion915

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Levis benefited bigly because UK was mainly a running team. Look at those stats. Lots of games with low number of pass attempts. But watching his games announcers would often be impressed with his quick release. Really got rid the ball fast.
I guess...whatever. I'm not going to declare him better than Clifford: Both dudes played behind a Division 2 offensive line.
 

tlbakernc

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Yeah......he wasn't accurate here at Penn State except for the Iowa game in 2020.

Last year, he was at 66% completion percentage. Fun fact -- other than Trace in 2017, we haven't had a starting QB with a completion % of 65%+ since Kerry Collins in '94. In fact, very rarely do our QBs go north of 60%. Pretty surprising when I ran the numbers.

Notably for Levis, here's how he performed last year against talented teams:

Georgia: 32/42, 192 yards, 2 TDs/O Ints
LSU: 14/17, 145 yards, 3 TDs/O Ints
Florida: 7/17, 87 yards, 1 TD/1 Int
Tennessee: 31/49, 372 yards, 3 TDs/1 Int
Iowa: 17/28, 233 yards, 1 TD/1 Int

Not bad on the whole, although UK avoided Alabama, Texas A&M, Arkansas, etc.

I just don't see a #1 pick.
Notice the yards in games you posted. UK uses the QB to run the ball to set up screens and short passes. Levis has accuracy issues down field and he’s not gre. His game and the offense don’t translate to the pros.
I do remember that Tommy Stevens and his Father made some demands of Coach Franklin, and I believe these demands happened after Spring practice because Stevens could not afford to go into his "last season" with uncertainty related to whether he would be a starting quarterback or not.
I apologize to everyone. It was Stevens not Levis. I will correct my post asap.
 

tlbakernc

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I'm pretty sure that Levis and his Father did not demand that Levis be named the Starter. Levis said publicly that no matter what he did or how well he performed, he was not going to get a chance to be the Starter. This is also why Levis said publicly that Kentucky "believed" in his abilities. Kentucky did not name Levis the starter on day one, he had to come in to practice and earn the starting job. Levis felt he had a better opportunity to be a starting quarterback elsewhere than at Penn State. If you do a google search, you can see that the news reports of Levis' transfer happened in February 2021, which was the beginning of the Spring so he did not wait until after Spring practice to officially transfer.
I'm pretty sure that Levis and his Father did not demand that Levis be named the Starter. Levis said publicly that no matter what he did or how well he performed, he was not going to get a chance to be the Starter. This is also why Levis said publicly that Kentucky "believed" in his abilities. Kentucky did not name Levis the starter on day one, he had to come in to practice and earn the starting job. Levis felt he had a better opportunity to be a starting quarterback elsewhere than at Penn State. If you do a google search, you can see that the news reports of Levis' transfer happened in February 2021, which was the beginning of the Spring so he did not wait until after Spring practice to officially transfer.
You are correct! I made a correction to my post. It was Tommy Stevens not Levis. Again, I apologize to the Levis family and for putting a negative light on Levis.