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Thursday, March 14, 2013
Watch List QB breaks down PSU visit

By Jared Shanker

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien just signed the country’s No. 1 quarterback in the 2013 class, and now he is going after a 2014 quarterback on the Watch List.

Wheaton (Ill.) North dual-threat signal-caller Clayton Thorson took a two-day visit to Penn State this week, his second trip to Penn State since the Nittany Lions offered during the season.

Matt McGloin
Matt McGloin's improvement under coach Bill O'Brien is a big selling point for PSU quarterback targets.
“Back in November [for the Wisconsin game] I just went to the stadium and the game and didn’t see the campus and facilities,” Thorson said, “so I got an in-depth view of what it’d be like to be a Penn State student.”

Thorson took a tour of the campus and facilities and met with a professor in the Smeal College of Business. Thorson wants to study business and finance, and the academics at Penn State intrigue him.

O’Brien and Penn State quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher sat down with Thorson and talked about Penn State’s quarterback situation, with Matt McGloin graduating and a trio of unproven quarterbacks competing for the starting job.

The coaches let Thorson know he could be part of the competition beginning in 2014.

“They said they like the way I play and like my accuracy and how I throw the ball,” Thorson said. “They said there is a competition, so it’ll be competitive, but everywhere you’ll have competition. It was a good talk.”

O’Brien’s history with the Patriots and Tom Brady impressed Thorson, much like it did Christian Hackenberg, the No. 1 quarterback in the 2013 class. McGloin’s improvements under O’Brien and Fisher are also a pivotal selling point for Thorson and other potential quarterback recruits.

“They’re both great guys and tell you how it is,” Thorson said. “Coach O’Brien is known for that and telling you where you stand. He’s had success with Brady and the Patriots, so it’s good to get insight into that and how he operates.”

Thorson is not ready to cut his list yet, and all 13 programs to offer are still in contention.

He is back to 100 percent after breaking his collarbone in the playoffs. That injury came at receiver, but Thorson will be given the full reins at quarterback this season. He split time in 2012 with a senior.

“I’m just working on rehabbing my shoulder injury, getting in the film room with my quarterback coach Kent Graham, who played in the NFL,” Thorson said, “and it’s good to have that asset to go over film and teach me the game.”