I rarely admit this to anyone, but in 1977... I was a Penn State fan. I was 11 years old and I knew my Dad played football at Penn. I honestly did not know the difference between a Quaker and a Nittany Lion. Living in the state of Michigan, I was also a Wolverine fan (mostly because of Bob Ufer and Rich Leach).
It wasn't until Penn State joined the Big Ten conference in the 1990's (after I had graduated from Michigan) that I was really forced to cut Penn State out of my heart.
I also always kinda liked Joe Paterno. He seems like an honest and steady dude. Personally, I think he has stuck around too long and hurt his program. But who am I to say what he should and should not do. In one of the less annoying Big Ten Network commercials he claims to a potential recruit: "We're Linebacker U...."
But one thing Joe can never say is "We're Quarterback U..." I decided to quick look at the quarterbacks that have played at Penn State over the last 30 years and how they did at the next level. It is an interesting, if not yawn inspiring list. Any top quarterback recruit (I am looking at you Kevin Newsome) that would ever consider going to Happy Valley needs to have their head examined.
1976-77-78 : Chuck Fusina. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs. Played a couple of seasons in the NFL backing up Doug Williams. Made his real mark in the USFL where he won 2 championships with the Stars.
1979: Dayle Tate. Undrafted in professional football.
1980-81-82: Todd Blackledge. Guided Penn State to the 1982 National Championship. Was the #7 overall pick by Kansas City. Threw 29 touchdowns and 38 interceptions in 6 NFL seasons. Considered the biggest draft bust in Chiefs history.
1983-84: Doug Strong. Undrafted in professional football.
1985-86: John Shaffer. Undrafted in professional football.
1987: Matt Knizner. Undrafted in professional football.
1988-89-90-91: Tony Sacca. Drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. Threw 11 passes (completed 4) in a single NFL season.
1992: John Sacca. Quit Penn State football team after being benched for Kerry Collins early in the 1993 season.
1993-94: Kerry Collins. Led Penn State to an undefeated 1994 season. Was drafted #5 overall by Carolina and made the Pro Bowl in 1996. But the Panthers cut him after drunken and racist incidents in 1997. He eventually cleans up his act, made it to the Super Bowl with the Giants and is still playing in the NFL for the Titans.
1995-95: Wally Richardson. Drafted in the 7th round by Baltimore. Completed one NFL pass for one yard.
1997: Mike McQueary. Undrafted in professional football. Current Penn State assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.
1998-99: Kevin Thompson. Undrafted. Played a couple of seasons for the Browns. Completed his only career pass attempt against the Jacksonville Jags for 8 yards in December 2000.
2000: Rashard Casey. Undrafted in professional football.
2001-02-03-04: Zach Mills. Undrafted in professional football. Spent the 2005 preseason with the Redskins but was cut.
2005: Michael Robinson. Played both WR and QB at Penn State. Big Ten MVP. Drafted by the 49ers and converted to a semi-productive running back in San Francisco.
2006-07: Anthony Morelli. Won the National NFL punt pass and kick title as a 10 year old. Undrafted in professional football. Spent the 2008 preseason with the Cardinals, but was cut.
30+ years. 16 guys. 1 productive NFL career. 2 USFL titles. Solid.