With the buzz of spring football in the rear view mirror, we're going to continue milking it for all it's worth. One of the best ways to go all pundit-y is with "stock reports" posts like this one picking the winners from spring practice, and one tomorrow picking the losers. Chris kicks it off with four players on the upswing following spring practice. -- MVP
Allen Robinson -- We can all agree that, in Derek Moye's absence, Justin Brown (35 rec, 517 yards, 2 TD in 2011) takes over as the #1 wide receiver for Penn State this year. When secondaries key on Brown, who picks up the slack in the receiving corps? Devon Smith, Alex Kenney, Shawney Kersey, and others will certainly be counted on, but Allen Robinson seems to be the player most likely to create mismatches. Robinson wasn't known as a downfield threat when he arrived at Penn State, but that's exactly what he's turned into. At 6'3" and 200 pounds, he's certainly a more likely candidate to beat a cornerback or safety for a jump ball than, say, Devon Smith.
Donovan Smith -- Practice reports from last season indicated that Smith was shoving his way up the depth chart as a true freshman, but the coaching staff wisely didn't burn Smith's redshirt late in the year. This year, with four seasons of eligibility ahead of him, Smith has quite obviously taken the next step. He's nudged ahead of Mike Farrell as the first team right tackle, and looked fantastic in the Blue-White game. Check out big #76 in this clip:
And while we're admiring Donovan Smith's work, how about Bill Belton? He may carry the ball a bit loosely for our collective tastes, but as you saw against Ohio State last year, Belton's talent is undeniable. He's taken full advantage of Curtis Dukes' absence (due to academics). Penn State fans thought they'd have a Thunder/Lightning combination at running back in 2012. If Belton locks down the #2 position, he's Lightning, not Silas Redd. For all of the talk about Bill O'Brien's passing offense, he's be crazy to not lean heavily on the running game this season. With Redd, Belton, (hopefully) Dukes, and Zach Zwinak, BOB will have plenty of backfield weapons at his disposal. However, Belton is the true wild card.
Finally, Adrian Amos. Based on his playing time late in the 2011 season as a true freshman, it was rather apparent that Amos was a guy with a bright future. With his switch to safety and Curtis Drake's seemingly successful switch to cornerback, the defensive backfield became a lot more athletic. To use a football scouting term I hate, Amos has good ball skills. He has the ability to go up and grab an errant throw, whether he's at cornerback or safety:
Stay tuned tomorrow for Mike's look at players whose stock is faltering after spring practice 2012.