Matt McGloin: From West Side to West Coast

Former West Scranton High School student/athlete and Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin has realized the dream of many young athletes in America: making it to the professional level.

In high school, McGloin was a three-sports athlete. In addition to leading the Invaders to two PIAA Class AAA district and league titles, he compiled 5,485 passing yards and 58 touchdowns in his high school football career. He was a four-year starter on the basketball team, was named captain, and eventually accumulated 1,300 points. McGloin was also a three-year starter in baseball, playing the infield as well as pitching. In his senior year he earned the much-sought-after title of All Region Two-Way Player, hitting over .400 and going 7–0 from the mound. His performance on the diamond helped lead West Scranton to their first conference championship in 16 years.

Joining Penn State’s football team in 2009 as a walk-on, McGloin initially did not see much playing time, mostly serving as backup to Daryll Clark and Kevin Newsome. However, he showed some promise in the annual Blue-White game, completing 9 of 13 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns. On October 23, 2010, McGloin once again proved he was capable of taking control of the quarterback position. With Newsome out because of the flu and newcomer Robert Bolden having to leave the game with a concussion, McGloin stepped in and threw two touchdowns to capture the Lions’ first Big Ten win of the season against Minnesota.

In his first start, McGloin aired a total of 250 passing yards and one touchdown in a victory over powerhouse Michigan. Bolden returned from injury to start the next game versus Northwestern, but was eventually pulled in favor of McGloin, who proceeded to rally the Lions from a 21-point deficit to a 35–21 comeback win, Joe Paterno‘s 400th victory.

McGloin’s senior year saw the arrival of a new head coach, Bill O’Brien, along with O’Brien’s pro-style offense. O’Brien, who served as position coach to future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, gave McGloin all he needed: a fair chance to compete for the quarterback position. With his hard work on the field and his fastidious studies in the film room, McGloin was greatly rewarded, becoming the first quarterback of the nascent Bill O’Brien era. Clearly the coach made the right call, as McGloin went on to break Penn State single season records in passing yards (3,003) and completions (270), along with breaking Daryll Clark’s career passing touchdown record with 45 touchdown tosses.

McGloin went undrafted in the 2013 NFL draft, but signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent. The odds weren’t in his favor to make the team, as he was merely an undrafted rookie battling the talented rookie fourth round pick, Tyler Wilson. However, McGloin used his leadership and football IQ to lock down the third string quarterback position and send Wilson packing. He has been so impressive thus far that, according to Michael Silver of NFL.com, there are voices within the Raiders organization who believe McGloin gives them the best chance of winning. With skepticism around Terrelle Pryor, along with Matt Flynn being yet unimpressive, perhaps McGloin can earn his chance to be named starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders like fellow Pennsylvania native and Penn State alum  Kerry Collins.

Other achievements during McGloin’s time in Happy Valley include being the first walk-on in Penn State football since scholarships were re-instated in 1949, becoming the first Penn State quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in Ohio stadium since 1963, and garnering the recognition of honorable mention All Big Ten. In addition, he passed 200 yards in seven games to rank tenth in Penn State history for passing yardage, won the Burlsworth Trophy for most outstanding college football player as a walk-on, and  became the namesake of Penn State Worthington campus’ baseball field. He was even honored on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Democratic Representative Marty Flynn.

  • Paul Matala
  • Paul is both a student of constitutional philosophy and lover of sports.


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