A lot has been said about Penn State QB Drew Allar, and almost all of it it has been positive.
Add Illinois defensive coordinator Aaron Henry to the lengthy list of people who have gushed over the former five-star from Medina, Ohio.
Henry’s unit has had some problems early in 2023.
Illinois gave up 28 points to Toledo in Week 1 and, this past Friday against Kansas, gave up 34 points and 539 yards in a 34-23 loss. This week, Illinois might have more problems, and Allar could well cause them.
In a pre-Penn State presser Monday, Henry described Allar in a way reminiscent of how Muhammad Ali used to describe himself.
“He has a beautiful arm,” Henry said. “He’s long. He’s pretty and athletic and moves extremely well in the pocket.”
So far, Allar’s living up to the hype. Through two starts, he’s 43-55 for 529 yards and four touchdowns. Allar’s first start against West Virginia (21-for-29, 325 yards, three touchdowns) earned him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.
But Henry had good things to say about Penn State’s whole offense, not just Allar.
“They’re really, really good,” he said. “They’re really talented. They do what they do. I think they do it really well.”
“They have two running backs (Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen) who I believe could start anywhere in the country. They are very physical, downhill runners. I mean, they (Penn State) pride themselves on running the ball.”
“They have a couple tight ends who I think are physical at the point of attack. They’re like extensions of their o-line. They line up outside, they line up inside, they line up in the backfield.”
Henry said Penn State’s receivers might not have the “Penn State names” that would go in the first-round in theory, but complimented the current group.
“Those guys, they bust their butt,” Henry said, “they can get open, they have great hands, I think they do a really good job down the field of being in space and catching the ball at its high point when they are throwing the ball, and they’re tremendous, tremendous run bookers. They take a lot of pride in that.”
Henry also said Penn State’s offensive line is “ridiculous” and complemented its defense.
We’ll see if Penn State lives up to its billing Saturday, with a noon kickoff scheduled at Illinois.