Clifford is one of 35 total quarterbacks on a list that’s headlined by defending Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young from Alabama. The list has five quarterbacks from the Big Ten, with Clifford joined by Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, Michigan State’s Payton Thorne, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell.
The last Big Ten quarterback to win the O’Brien Award was Ohio State’s Troy Smith in 2006, the same year he won the Heisman.
Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, who backed up Clifford in 2019 and ‘20, is also on the list.
Entering year six at Penn State, Clifford will almost currently be the starter Week 1 for the fourth year in a row.
In 2021, Clifford threw for 3,107 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions with a completion percentage of 61.
Clifford is currently second on Penn State’s all-time passing touchdowns list with 62, and could well break his predecessor Trace McSorley’s record of 77.
Penn State hasn’t had an O’Brien Award winner since Kerry Collins won in 1994. Todd Blackledge (1982) is the only other Penn State quarterback to win it.