Last season proved to be one of the more successful seasons in recent history for Penn sprint football.
Boasting a strong senior class headlined by center Matthew Hermann, wideout Billy Murphy, and quarterback Eddie Jenkins, the Red and Blue finished third in the CSFL standings with a 5-2 record. Two one-possession losses to Army and Navy left Penn on the outside looking in during the 2019 CSFL championship, which was played at Franklin Field.
The Quakers' success was somewhat of an homage to longtime head coach Bill Wagner, who retired in December after 50 years coaching sprint football at Franklin Field. Penn hired longtime offensive coordinator Jerry McConnell as the team's new head coach, hoping that McConnell would help ease the transition into the post-Wags era.
Unfortunately for the team, Wagner wasn't the only significant loss for Penn sprint football. Three-year starting quarterback Eddie Jenkins graduated in May, capping a remarkable career for the Pittsburgh native.
Jenkins led the CFSL with 1,777 yards of total offense and 27 total touchdowns in 2019, and he finished third in program history in passing yards in just three seasons as a starter. Jenkins was named CSFL Player of the Year for his efforts, becoming the ninth Quaker to ever do so.
McConnell now faces the tall task of replacing one of the program's greatest players. Currently, the Quakers only have four quarterbacks on their roster. Three of them — Joshua Trybus, Barry Klein, and Reed Connor — are seniors, and with Ivy League sports postponed until at least 2020, it remains to be seen if any of these three will take the field.
Klein and Trybus were originally recruited as quarterbacks, but both transitioned to other positions with Jenkins taking the majority of reps at quarterback. As a result, Connor has the most experience at quarterback among the trio, but he still threw just 11 passes last year.
Trybus, meanwhile, was a star in Penn's secondary last season, racking up seven interceptions to lead the CFSL. McConnell named Trybus a team captain in April, and the first-year head coach has indicated that Trybus would play quarterback during the 2020-2021 season if the CFSL decides to resume play in the spring.
"We recruited [Trybus] as a quarterback originally and really liked what we saw out of him," McConnell said. "He's an extremely talented athlete, and we're envisioning using him in a lot of creative ways on offense."
Given the reality that the 2020-2021 CFSL season could be postponed, though, McConnell is looking ahead at the quarterback position. Sophomore Andrew Paolini is the only other quarterback on the roster at the moment, but the Cherry Hill, N.J. native had an impressive senior season in high school before coming to Penn. Paolini led Holy Cross to a 6-5 finish, and the Lancers finished fifth in their group's regular season standings.
All four quarterbacks will have to wait until at least January 2020 to take the field, as the Ivy League canceled all fall sports in July. As soon as the CFSL clears Penn to practice, McConnell will get right to work on finding Jenkins' replacement.
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