Looking Ahead: Wide Receivers

Mike Pettigano

While the quarterback throwing to them may be unknown at the moment, the receiving corps returns a lot of productivity from 2012.

A way-too-early position preview series; included are scholarship and verbally committed Class of 2013 players, while run-on players have been left out of the previews.

Warm Bodies: Brandon Moseby-Felder (RS Sen.), Alex Kenney (RS Jun.), Allen Robinson (Jun.), Matt Zanellato (RS Soph.), Trevor Williams (Soph.), Malik Golden (RS Fresh.), Jonathan Warner (RS Fresh.), Eugene Lewis (RS Fresh.), DaeSean Hamilton (Fresh.)

Outlook: What production is gone from the receivers of 2012? Consider this: of the 272 completions thrown by Penn State quarterbacks in 2012, only 22 of those went to players who will not be on the team in 2013 (barring injuries/transfers). Of those 22 catches, 15 went to a fullback, six to a disgruntled wide receiver who didn't play the last 9 games, and one to a quarterback-turned-tight-end who recently transferred to Robert Morris University. The other 250 receptions? Oh, they back, y'all.

Robinson returns after a breakout 2012 season and will certainly be the number one receiver again in 2013. He caught 77 balls for 1000+ yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and should put up similar numbers, despite a new quarterback controversy. Having a talented receiver like Robinson, though, will be something of a security blanket for whichever of the new quarterbacks is chosen as the starter.

Lining up opposite Robinson will likely be Moseby-Felder (or simply Felder), who started slow but really emerged as a solid receiver as the year went on. He finished with 31 receptions for 437 yards and a touchdown, the second leading wide receiver in terms of production. He, along with players like Alex Kenney and Trevor Williams, will need to keep their production up so that opposing defenses don't double-team Robinson and take away the Penn State passing attack.

Kenney and Williams are the next two receivers that should make an impact in 2013, with the two combining for 27 catches and 250+ yards last season. Each of these have top-end speed, and can run both the go route as well as the drag route. Look for them to once again be the third and fourth most productive receivers, and hopefully look for Bill O'Brien to get the ball in these guys' hands in some space.

After that, there isn't much in terms of returning productivity (among the remaining names, only Zanellato registered a catch in 2012), but there is a glut of talent. Golden and Lewis are two receivers to watch, with expectations and assessments out of practice last year both high. Hamilton is a likely redshirt candidate given the crowded roster ahead of him, while Warner is another legacy player, something that every fan loves.

Moseby-Felder is gone after 2013, and with another stellar year, Robinson has the chance to being gone as well, so some of the younger receivers, especially the flankers, will need to get some experience so that they're ready to take over when it's their time. Lewis was the most touted recruit of the three redshirt freshmen, and apparently was impressing the coaching staff on the scout team last season.

Projected 2013 Depth Chart:

WR SL WR
Robinson Kenney Felder
Zanellato Williams Lewis
Warner Golden
Hamilton

Names to Watch: With nine receivers on the roster, and only one slated to leave after the 2013 season, this is another skill position that will most likely not see a Class of 2014 commitment, nor any more Class of 2013 commitments, with the talented Hamilton already on board. However, these are some of the names to keep an eye on in case the staff chooses to take a receiver next year: Chris Godwin (Middletown HS (Middletown, DE)), Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield HS (Springfield, OH)), Marshon Lattimore (Glenville HS (Cleveland, OH))

QB - RB/FB - WR - TE - OL - DT - DE - LB - DB - ST


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