It was just a small blip on the state sports scene last week.

If you blinked, you likely missed it.

Kevin Newsome, once considered the sure-fire starter as Penn State's next quarterback, quit the Temple football team.

Newsome was regarded as a jewel in PSU's 2009 recruiting class. He was a four-star blue-chipper who was rated the No. 10 QB recruit in the nation by

In 2010, the Nittany Lions added two more high-profile QB recruits -- Paul Jones and Rob Bolden. According to, Jones was a five-star recruit and the No. 3 QB recruit in the nation, while Bolden was a four-star prospect who was rated as the nation's No. 8 QB recruit.

You would think one of those young men would be PSU's starting QB this season.

Junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson is battling for the Lions starting QB job.
Junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson is battling for the Lions starting QB job. (File photo)

You would be wrong.

In fact, none of the three is even a member of Penn State's program. Jones is trying to earn the starting QB job at Robert Morris -- a Football Championship Subdivision school near Pittsburgh. Bolden is buried deep -- very deep -- on Louisiana State's depth chart. And Newsome just gave up on his Owls' career.

There's a lesson to be learned there.

Recruiting is more art than science. The gurus can be -- and often are -- woefully wrong.

Rating stars, athletic talents and impressive physical frames are nice, but the ability to make the right reads, find the open receiver and hit him in stride are much more important.

That's how walk-on Matt McGloin ended up winning the starting QB job at Penn State, while Newsome, Jones and Bolden ended up leaving the program.

That's something to keep in mind as Penn State begins practicing for the 2013 season.

It's generally accepted that true freshman Christian Hackenberg or junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson will be PSU's starting signal-caller for the season opener vs. Syracuse on Saturday, Aug. 31, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Hackenberg -- like Newsome, Bolden and Jones -- comes in as the can't-miss prospect. gave him five stars and listed him as the No. 2 QB recruit in the nation. Ferguson wasn't as highly regarded, but does have the advantage of competing in PSU's spring practices.

A pair of freshman walk-ons -- D.J. Crook and Austin Whipple -- are next on the PSU QB depth chart. They are the Matt McGloins in this QB race.

Of course, there is one important difference in the 2013 QB derby.

Bill O'Brien is now the man in charge at Penn State. All evidence indicates that he is light years ahead of Paternos (Joe and Jay) when it comes to evaluating and developing quarterbacks for the modern game.

If O'Brien says that either Hackenberg or Ferguson will start at QB, you can pretty much take that to the bank.

Still, neither Hackenberg nor Ferguson has ever taken a snap in real major college football game. No one knows for sure how they will react and perform when the bodies start to fly. They could both struggle mightily. Or they could both get injured.

In that case, either Crook or Whipple could get his chance -- just like McGloin did. And they may end up exceeding all expectations -- just like McGloin did.

It's highly unlikely, of course. O'Brien knows quarterbacks. Barring injuries, either Hackenberg or Ferguson will likely get all -- or nearly all -- the snaps this season for Penn State.

But stranger things have happened.

Just ask Kevin Newsome, Rob Bolden, Paul Jones and Matt McGloin.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdis