Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 9 of 67

1 0 J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M P enn State's coaching staff ap- proached Sean Clifford with an option. Having finished his third season as a starting quarterback for the Nittany Lions, his fifth year in the program, a sixth was available. Open to a bonus year thanks to the NCAA's COVID rules for all 2020 season participants, Clif- ford could continue at Penn State for a final go-round. Alternatively, Clifford could move on to the next phase of his playing career, taking his shot at an NFL future after the season. Seeking clarity, Clifford weighed his options. "There are a lot of factors that played into it. It wasn't just one or two, hon- estly," Clifford said. "I thought that I had a few good decisions to make. I wasn't in a bad place, but I thought that coming back was my best decision and one that could help the team as well. I definitely am excited about it." Announcing his decision via Twit- ter on Dec. 10, Clifford will return for a sixth and final season as a Nittany Lion. Stressing that the opportunity to con- tinue to play with the Penn State fam- ily again, in the game he loves, was too good to pass up, he ultimately described the decision as easy. Nothing else about Clifford's experi- ence as a Nittany Lion could be classi- fied as the same. This past year, he fought through a campaign that was derailed by an injury at its midpoint and was later hindered by a bad case of the flu. What had started as a 5-0 joyride quickly went off the rails at Iowa. The Nittany Lions had risen to No. 4 in the polls with two wins against ranked op- ponents, and they held a 17-3 lead over the No. 3 Hawkeyes when Clifford's season turned sour on a wicked shot early in the second quarter. Sean Clifford To Return For Year 6 As Signal-Caller NATE BAUER | NBAUER@BLUEWHITEONLINE.COM NEWS & NOTES Clifford is taking advantage of the NCAA's bonus year of eligibility from COVID last year to return for his fourth season as Penn State's starting quarterback and sixth year on campus. PHOTO BY STEVE MANUEL

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