Football is back for the Quakers for the first time since Sept. 21, 2019. But, who will be under center for Week 1 is still up in the air. Here are the players competing for the starting quarterback job.
Aidan Sayin — Freshman, 6’2’’, 200 lbs
As the newest addition to the quarterback room, Sayin will most likely not have a serious chance at competing for the starting job, at least at the start of the season. Arriving to campus only a few weeks ago, the freshman is now facing a steep learning curve, transitioning from the high school level to a faster and much more physical collegiate game.
However, Sayin will still have much to bring to the table. The Carlsbad, Calif. native was a two-time letter winner in high school, serving as the team captain his senior year. Sayin earned first team All-California Interscholastic Federation honors in 2021 as well as first team All-League in 2019 and 2021. In his shortened senior season, Sayin threw for 962 yards and 13 touchdowns in just five games.
Hugh Brady — Sophomore, 6’3’’, 200 lbs
There is a lot of mystery surrounding quarterback Hugh Brady. A three-year letter winner and team captain at the Punahou School in Honolulu, the sophomore last played in early August of 2019 before tearing his ACL during Week 1 of his senior season. And after 2020 Ivy League fall sports were canceled on July 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brady did not have the opportunity to see any action or have any meaningful practices his freshman year.
However, the talent is there. Brady had a decorated high school career, as the quarterback was named a 2018 first team All-Conference selection in the Interscholastic League of Hawaii, All-State Honorable Mention, and 2019 JPS Senior Bowl Classic invitee.
Ryan Zanelli — Sophomore, 6’2’’, 195 lbs
Like Brady, sophomore quarterback Ryan Zanelli missed out on invaluable experiences with the Red and Blue after losing his freshman season to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even so, Zanelli will have the opportunity to challenge the upperclassmen for the starting position. The Santa Ana, Calif. native boasts an impressive resume. At La Habra High School, Zanelli was a three-year letter winner and served as a team captain for two seasons, leading the team to back-to-back Freeway League championships in 2018 and 2019 and to the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division 3 semifinals his senior year. Zanelli earned Freeway League Offensive Player of the Year honors twice and was first-team All-CIF as a senior.
Ben Gerber — Junior, 6’2’’, 200 lbs
One of two upperclassmen on the quarterback depth chart, junior Ben Gerber began his Penn career in 2019, meaning that the junior was able to experience a full season before the COVID-19 pandemic — albeit not seeing any game action.
Undoubtedly in the mix for the starting job, the quarterback from Wayne, Pa. was a multi-sport athlete at the Haverford School. A four-time letter winner in football, Gerber not only captained the team but also lettered in wrestling and indoor track. It’s clear the Gerber is a well-rounded athlete, which will prove useful in the Quakers’ quarterback battle.
John Quinnelly — Senior, 6’4’’, 200 lbs
As the only senior on the quarterback depth chart, Quinnelly may seem to be the Red and Blue’s frontrunner for the starting job at quarterback. The quarterback from Daphne, Ala. had two full seasons under his belt before losing his junior season, but like Gerber, Quinnelly did not see any game action in his first two seasons with the Quakers. Quinnelly's senior leadership may be the x-factor for the Red and Blue come Week 1.
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