Trace McSorley

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Trace McSorley
Penn State Quarterback 2017 (cropped).jpg
Penn State versus Nebraska 2017
Penn State Nittany Lions – No. 9
Position Quarterback
Major Accounting and Journalism
Career history
Bowl games
High school Ashburn (VA) Briar Woods
Personal information
Born: (1995-08-23) August 23, 1995 (age 23)
Ashburn, Virginia
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg)
Career highlights and awards

Richard Thomas "Trace" McSorley III (born August 23, 1995) is an American football quarterback for the Penn State Nittany Lions of the Big Ten Conference.[1]

Early years[edit]

McSorley attended Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Virginia from 2010 to 2014, where he started from his freshman year of high school. In his freshman year, he led the team to a 13–2 record and a state championship. Two seasons later in his junior year, he led the team to a 15–0 record and its third consecutive state title.[2] He was named First-team All-State by the Virginia Coaches Association and Virginia Preps. As a junior, he was awarded All-Dulles District First Team; Dulles District Offensive Player of the Year; and Second-team All-Region quarterback.

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Trace McSorley
Ashburn, VA Briar Woods HS 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 212 lb (96 kg) 4.53 Jan 20, 2014 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports:3/5 stars    ESPN grade: 79
Overall recruiting rankings:
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "2014 Team Ranking".

College career[edit]

Redshirt freshman year[edit]

During McSorley's redshirt freshman year, he appeared in a total of six games, five of them when the game was in hand and McSorley was only in for a few plays.[3] In the 2016 Taxslayer Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs, after then starter Christian Hackenberg went out with an injury, McSorley was brought in with Penn State down 24–3. He nearly led a comeback, finishing the game 14 for 27 with 142 yards and two touchdowns, but PSU fell short 24–17.[4]

Sophomore year[edit]

With the early departure of quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who was drafted in the 2016 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, McSorley and redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens competed for the job. On McSorley's birthday, August 24, 2016, head coach James Franklin announced that McSorley would be the starter. In his first start on September 3, against Kent State, he went 16 of 31 for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 33–13 win.[5] In McSorley's second game, he threw for 332 yards and a score in a rivalry game at Pitt. Later in the season when the Nittany Lions played Minnesota, McSorley put up career high yardage numbers when he threw for 335 yards in a 29–26 OT win.[6]

On October 22, 2016, Penn State and McSorley played Big Ten rival Ohio State. McSorley struggled with accurately throwing the ball, completing 8 of 23 passes for 153 yards. However, he scored two touchdowns, one passing and one rushing, en route to a stunning upset of No. 2 Ohio State by unranked Penn State.[7] The win gave PSU a No. 24 ranking in the AP Poll, PSU's first ranking in the top 25 since the 2011 season.[8] The next week at Purdue, McSorley completed 12 of 23 passing for 228 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Nittany Lions won in a 62–24 rout and cemented their place in the AP Top-25 with a no. 20 ranking.[9]

On November 1, 2016, Penn State was no. 12 in the first official College Football Playoff rankings of the season.[10]

In a week 12 matchup vs rival Michigan State, McSorley threw for a career-high 376 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He went 17/23 with a completion percentage of 73%, and led Penn State to the 45–12 win, earning a berth to the Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin.[11] On November 30, 2016, McSorley was named Second Team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.[12] With a third quarter completion to DaeSean Hamilton, McSorley broke the Penn State single-season record for passing yards. The sophomore started the night fourth on the single-season list, but passed Christian Hackenberg, Daryll Clark and Matt McGloin’s to retain the top spot. McSorley finished the game with 384 yards, 22 of 31 passing, and four touchdowns in an MVP, Big Ten Championship winning performance. He now has 3,360 yards in his first season as the Nittany Lions’ starter.

"Trace has been dynamic all year long," head coach James Franklin said after the game. "I'm really proud of him, you know, his attitude, his demeanor, the type of teammate he is, the type of leader he is. Obviously he made plays tonight."[citation needed]

The sophomore led the Nittany Lions back from a 28-7 deficit and broke the Big Ten Championship Game record for passing yards, set by Michigan State’s Connor Cook back in 2013, and touchdowns. His 364 total yards was also a championship game record.[13]

On December 5, 2016, it was revealed that McSorley was on multiple Heisman ballots, some even as high as two, just behind Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. McSorley became the first Nittany Lion to be on a Heisman ballot in over ten years.[14]

After the Big Ten Championship game, McSorley ranked third in FBS in passing yard on throws over 20 yards with 1,491.

In the 2017 Rose Bowl McSorley went 18 for 29 with 254 yards and 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also rushed for 13 yards in a 49–52 loss to the USC Trojans.

Junior year[edit]

McSorley vs Pitt in 2017

After his Heisman campaign in 2016 McSorley and the Nittany Lions Entered the 2017 season ranked No. 6 by the AP Poll. In the Nittany Lions’ season opener McSorley passed for 280 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 52–0 rout over Akron. Starting his junior year off with a bang, he helped lead the team to a remarkable 7–0 start (with a 3–0 mark in conference play), outscoring opponents by a combined 213 points over that span. Through the first seven games McSorley had passed for 1,879 yards and thrown 14 touchdowns passes.

Bolstered by that strong start, the Lions sat at No. 2 in the country coming into a rivalry match at No. 6 Ohio State. In the primetime[citation needed], McSorley threw for 192 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 49 yards and another touchdown. However, a 19-point fourth quarter by the Buckeyes propelled them to a 39–38 comeback win, ending a potential perfect season for the Nittany Lions.

The next week vs the Michigan State Spartans McSorley threw for a season high 381 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, after a 3 and a half hour delay due to weather the Nittany Lions were upset by the Spartans on a game winning field goal 27–24. The Nittany Lions and McSorley responded to the 2 game losing streak however. The team finished the regular season 3–0 and McSorley threw for 776 yards and 7 touchdowns with 0 interceptions in his final 3 contests.

The 10–2 Nittany faced the 10–2 Washington Huskies in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl. McSorley struggled early and threw two picks in the first quarter however he finished the game 342 yards and 2 touchdown passes and also rushed for 60 yards. McSorley was named offensive MVP for the Nittany Lions.[15]

After the season it was speculated whether McSorley would declare for the 2018 NFL draft. After the Bowl game McSorley announced he was returning to Penn State for his senior season.[16]


NCAA career statistics
Penn State Nittany Lions
Season Games Record Passing Rushing
G GS Comp Att Yards Avg Long Pct TD Int QB rating Att Yards Avg Long TD
2015 6 0 20 40 185 9.3 21 50.0 2 0 105.4 13 43 3.3 14 0
2016 14 14 11–3 224 387 3,614 16.1 80 57.9 29 8 156.6 146 365 2.5 26 7
2017 13 13 11–2 284 427 3,570 12.6 85 66.5 28 10 162.4 144 491 3.4 36 11
Career 33 27 22–5 528 854 7,369 14.0 85 61.8 59 18 157.1 303 899 2.9 36 18


Honors and awards[edit]


  • Big Ten
    • Most passing yards in Big Ten Championship game — 384 yds
    • Most passing touchdowns in Big Ten Championship game — 4 TDs
  • Penn State
    • Most single-season passing yards — 3,360 yds (as of December 2016)
    • Most single-season total yards — 3979 yds (as of December 2016)[18]
    • Most single-season passing touchdowns — 29 (as of December 2016)[19]
    • Most single-season 300-yard passing games — 5 (as of December 2016)[20]
    • Most consecutive games with touchdown pass — 27[21]
    • Most total offensive yards in a single game — 461 (as of September 2018)


Trace is the son of Rick and Andrea McSorley, and he has one younger sister, Micaela. His father played football at the University of Richmond and an uncle, Jeff McSorley, played football at Marshall University. He enjoys playing organized and pick-up sports and video games. McSorley graduated from Penn State in May 2018 with a degree in accounting and is working on a second degree in journalism.[22]

McSorley is a Christian.[23] McSorley has a tattoo on his left biceps consisting of a cross with the bible verses Psalms 23:4 and Phillipians 4:13. He has said that the message behind the tattoo is "always pulling me in the right direction" and keeps him grounded and true to his roots.[24]


  1. ^ "Trace McSorley PSU Bio". Penn State Football. October 11, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  2. ^ Gallen, Daniel (October 18, 2016). "Penn State QB Trace McSorley". Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  3. ^ "Trace McSorley, Penn State Nittany Lions, Dual-Threat Quarterback". Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  4. ^ "Trace McSorley throws 2 TDs in 24–17 loss vs Georgia". Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  5. ^ "Trace McSorley highlights vs Kent State 2016". Team Profiles – ESPN Insider (subscription required). ESPN Internet Ventures. September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "McSorley throws 335 yard in OT win".
  7. ^ "Penn State stuns No. 2 Ohio State". October 22, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  8. ^ "Penn State Ranked No. 24 in AP Poll". PSU Sports. October 22, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "Penn State football ranked No. 20 in latest AP Top-25 poll". Daily Collegian. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  10. ^ "COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF 2016: OFFICIAL COMMITTEE RANKINGS AHEAD OF WEEK 10". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  11. ^ "Penn State rallies to beat Michigan state and advance to Big Ten championship game". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  12. ^ "2016 Big Ten Individual Award Winners" (PDF). Big Ten Conference. November 30, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  13. ^ Sean Fitz (December 3, 2016). "Record-setting performance from McSorley". CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "My Heisman Trophy ballot : Trace McSorley". cbssports. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "How good will Trace McSorley and Penn State be without Saquon Barkley". 21 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Trace McSorley stats". Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Johnson, Richard. "How Penn State uses its QB in one of the nation's most creative offenses". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  19. ^ "Trace McSorley breaks Penn State single-season passing record". Land of 10. 2016-12-03. Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  20. ^ Wogenrich, Mark. "Aching early, Penn State's Trace McSorley responds once more to make Big Ten history". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  21. ^ Scarcella, Rich. "Penn State vs. Wisconsin: highlights and lowlights". Retrieved 2016-12-09.
  22. ^ "Trace McSorley Personal". PSU Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  23. ^ "Lots of faith in PSU's McSorley". Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  24. ^ "The Meaning Behund Trace McSorley's tattoo". Retrieved November 1, 2016.

External links[edit]