Junior | 6’1”, 214 lbs | 07/14/1998 | Cincinnati, OH
Dual-Threat quarterback with good touch that needs to show improvement in his decision-making and his internal clock.
Considered the third best pro-style quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class by ESPN, Clifford finished 3rd in the Big 10 in touchdown passes (23) in his first year as a starter. He also ranked 3rd in rushing yards (402) and touchdowns (5) on the team. Clifford heads into his redshirt-junior season with questions he will need to answer if he wants to secure a draft spot in 2021’s class.
- Has good touch on crosses and goal-line fades.
- Accurate on short, quick strikes like slants and outs.
- Adept at throwing on the run.
- Can extend plays and threaten the defense with his legs.
Questions to Answer or Areas to Improve
- Antsy in the pocket that results in unnecessary pressure for himself.
- Panics and makes bad decisions under pressure.
- Fooled by zone coverage.
- Takes off if his primary receiver isn’t open.
- Plays like he’s scared to make a mistake.
- Underthrows the majority of his deep targets.
- Missed one game with right leg injury in 2019.
Way too Early Projection:
Right now, Clifford projects as a late-round draft pick at best. He would need to have a Joe Burrow-esque rise in 2020 if he wants to go early in next year’s draft. His youth and mobility will give him a chance at making an NFL roster.
What to Watch in 2020:
Clifford enters 2020 with former Minnesota OC/QB coach, Kirk Ciarrocca, as his new OC and he has a clear vision for Penn State’s offense. Look for Clifford’s comfort level in the pocket. His internal clock moves too fast and he senses pressure when there is none. He needs to play with more decisiveness. His 2019 film showed a lot of second guessing his decisions, both as a passer and a runner. Something else to look for is his arm strength. In 2019, he constantly underthrew recent 2nd round draft pick, K.J. Hamler, on deep shots so pay attention when he tosses it down field.