And the Nittany Lions are left with holdover starter Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones, who is hoping to be in the mix after being academically ineligible last year.
Bill O'Brien has announced that there is "an open competition" for the starting job.
"There won't be a starter named until possibly the night before the [Sept. 1] Ohio game," O'Brien said. "So there's no starter right now at that position."
That may not be music to the ears of McGloin and Bolden, who battled for the starting job much of the last two seasons. They were often kept in the dark last year by Joe Paterno and quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno as to who would start until close to game day.
The three front-runners, as well as three other upperclassmen quarterbacks plus incoming freshman Steven Beach, who will be reporting as soon as he graduates from high school, will have to learn a new offense based on what O'Brien ran as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
They will be judged solely on what O'Brien sees. The new head coach has opted not to watch any tape of last year's offense because "I really wanted to start with a clean slate with these guys."
The Penn State offense was one of the worst in the Big Ten last season, finishing in the bottom three in the conference in five categories. Nationally, out of 120 FBS schools, the Lions were 110th in scoring and 112th in pass efficiency.
O'Brien said he disliked the word "controversy" and that he hopes for a good competition among the QBs.
"We want to give each one of them an equal amount of reps with the first team and the second team and keep stats," he said. "We want to make it as scientific as possible, keep scrimmage stats, keep 7-on-7 stats and talk to them about completion percentage, decision-making, accuracy that go into being a starting quarterback.
"When we go to make a decision on who starts the football game, it'll be an educated decision and a fair decision."
The decision will be made without Danny O'Brien, who became the second quarterback to graduate from an Atlantic Coast Conference school and go to Wisconsin. Russell Wilson came over last year from North Carolina State and helped lead the Badgers to the Big Ten title.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound O'Brien, from Kernersville, N.C., wanted to see Penn State practice before finalizing his decision. He said he had "a pretty tight relationship with coach O'Brien, and he's going to do some great things there."
"But there was no denying after I took the Wisconsin visit, especially after talking with my family, that Wisconsin was home," he said.
O'Brien passed for more than 2,400 yards in 2010 and was named ACC rookie of the year but struggled under new Maryland head coach Randy Edsall last season and broke his non-throwing arm late in the year.
Contact Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @joejulesinq.