Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 56 of 67

J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 5 7 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M I t's been an incredible ride for five- star quarterback and future Nittany Lion Drew Allar. Just one year ago, Allar didn't even hold a scholarship offer from Penn State. Now, many consider the Me- dina (Ohio) High standout to be the program's most important recruit since Micah Parsons, and even that may be an understatement. At the beginning of 2021, Allar was a three-star prospect according to every major recruiting site. Iowa, Iowa State, Pitt and Wake Forest were arguably the top schools pursuing him. While it's true that a handful of play- ers in every class will make major jumps, it's incredibly rare for a quarterback to skyrocket the way Allar did in the final year of the recruiting cycle for the 2022 class. This is a position where schools often find themselves falling behind if they wait until after a player's sophomore season, especially for the very best. But for Allar, it wasn't until this past Febru- ary when everything took off. The pandemic affected Allar's re- cruitment to a degree, but one of the primary reasons why he made such a sudden ascent was because of the work he put in over the past two years. His work with Brad Maendler, an Ohio- based quarterback trainer, has been well-documented, but Medina head coach Larry Laird and his staff also played a big role in providing Allar with the opportunity for such a meteoric rise. Following Medina's 41-6 loss to St. Edward in the OHSAA Division I re- gional final on Nov. 19, BWI caught up with Laird to look back on Allar's time with the program. BWI Going back to his freshman and sophomore seasons, did you ever think that Drew would become the kind of prospect he is today? LARRY LAIRD You could see that the arm talent was there very early, but did he have to work to the point where he is now? Absolutely. Hard work and dedication are how he's made himself into the prospect he is. I always thought he could be a lower Division I prospect just because of his arm talent alone, but for him to blow up the way he did and become the prospect he did, that was through hard work and dedication on his part. BWI When did Drew start playing varsity? Did he play much as a fresh- man for you? LAIRD He actually shared time at quarterback on the freshman team. It's not like he came in from Day 1 for us. He shared time with Mike Rodack, one of our wide receivers now, as a freshman. They were my signalers for the fresh- man team, That speaks to how much work he's put in. He didn't really start playing for us until his sophomore year. Even in the beginning of that season, he wasn't starting and was probably only getting a third of the reps. I didn't start him until the sixth or seventh game of his sophomore year. BWI What did you see that made you I N T E R V I E W L A R R Y L A I R D KEEPING IT REAL Drew Allar's coach sees the Penn State-bound quarterback stay grounded even as his college outlook skyrockets RYA N S N Y D E R | S N Y D E R 4 2 0 8 8 @ G M A I L . C O M Allar had been a three-star prospect before surging to the top of the quarterback rankings in the final year of the 2022 recruiting cycle. On3 now rates him as the No. 24 overall player and No. 2 signal-caller in the nation. PHOTO BY RYAN SNYDER

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