Penn State Football

Why ESPN’s ranking of Trace McSorley won’t affect him

Trace McSorley on how he wants to be remembered

Trace McSorley, a senior and Heisman Trophy candidate, knows how he wants Penn State fans to remember him.
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Trace McSorley, a senior and Heisman Trophy candidate, knows how he wants Penn State fans to remember him.

The honors just keep on rolling in for Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.

On Monday morning, an expert panel of ESPN writers ranked the Nittany Lion as the ninth-best overall player in college football, in addition to being the nation’s No. 2 quarterback behind West Virginia’s Will Grier. ESPN is now the fourth major news outlet this offseason to rank McSorley as one of the nation’s best: Sporting News ranked him as the country’s top signal-caller in June, Athlon put him at No. 3, and CBS ranked the QB room as the nation’s third-best.

But don’t expect the new accolade to get into the redshirt senior’s head. McSorley addressed all the new-found attention at Saturday’s media day, and he’s not putting a lot of stock into it.

“I mean, it’s definitely been an honor seeing all these things happen, where you know, I’m getting mentioned in this and that and there’s all these stories coming out,” he said. “But you know, to me, my job is to be the best quarterback for Penn State, and be the best captain and leader I can be for this team, and that’s kind of the approach I’ve taken is just focusing on that and not worrying about all the outside noise and all that kind of stuff.”

McSorley already owns several Penn State career records — including touchdown passes (59) — and is on the cusp of breaking the career yardage mark, as he needs just 1,059 yards to pass Christian Hackenberg (8,427) for the top spot.

Those types of numbers led to ESPN writing, “Those lamenting the departure of Saquon Barkley seem to forget the Heisman Trophy contender still in Happy Valley. McSorley has won big at every level of his career.”

McSorley was not ranked as the Big Ten’s best, however. Three conference opponents were ranked ahead of him by ESPN, including Ohio State DE Nick Bosa (No. 6), Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor (No. 7) and Michigan DL Rashan Gary (No. 8).

Eleven Big Ten players broke ESPN’s list of the top-50 players, but McSorley was the only Nittany Lion to make an appearance. The complete Big Ten list includes:

6. Nick Bosa, Ohio State DE

7. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB

8. Rashan Gary, Michigan DL

9. Trace McSorley, Penn State QB

22. Devin Bush, Michigan LB

23. J.K Dobbins, Ohio State RB

25. Shea Patterson, Michigan QB

32. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State QB

42. David Edwards, Wisconsin OL

43. T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin LB

46. Chase Winovich, Michigan DL