How He Got Here
A three-star wide receiver and safety out of Mountain View High School in Virginia, DaeSean Hamilton committed to Penn State in December 2012. As a part of the class of 2013, Hamilton represented a key piece in the effort to amass weapons for Christian Hackenberg. After spurning the likes of Michigan State, Miami, Duke, and Illinois (lol), Hamilton had some injury issues and redshirted his first season in Happy Valley.
In the first game of his career last year at Croke Park, Hamilton made his presence felt against UCF with 11 catches for 165 yards playing opposite Geno Lewis. He followed up the performance by leading the team in catches in wins over both Akron and Rutgers, establishing himself as Christian Hackenberg's favorite target on the outside and a consistent playmaking threat. His 14 catches for 126 yards against Ohio State in a thrilling, referee-assisted overtime White Out game loss at Beaver Stadium put him on the national radar for good. A dip in production late in the season -- he had 18 catches for 162 yards in Penn State's final five regular season games -- followed the entire team's general trend of malaise in November. However, a resurgent Pinstripe Bowl performance in which he scored his second touchdown of the season again showed just how valuable he was after finishing the season with a Big Ten-leading 82 receptions.
Oh, and he also has a highlight video set to the clean version of All Of the Lights, which is amazing.
What To Expect in 2015
Well, a lot. Hamilton was added to the preseason watchlists for the Biletnikoff and Maxwell awards, and enters the year as the obvious number one wideout in State College. Thanks to an array of talent at the position behind him, it will be hard for teams to key hard on Hamilton, opening up opportunities for the man affectionately known as BaeSean to put up serious numbers. If the offensive line improves to a level of relative adequacy, Hamilton will be one of the biggest benefactors. With excellent hands, leaping, route running, and the ability to gain separation despite a lack of elite-level speed, Hamilton has all the tools to be one of the best receivers in the country. Remember that he's only a redshirt sophomore, and the upside is all the more intriguing.
While Chris Godwin is the sexy breakout pick around the team, look for Hamilton to do what he did all last year: provide a reliable, constant threat for the Penn State offense. He'll make some lesser corner backs look absolutely foolish, and will compete with the best ones he goes up against. John Donovan will look to get the ball into Hamilton's hands as often as possible this season as the Penn State offense makes the leap from wildly inconsistent to regularly dangerous. Despite his youth, Hamilton has already proven he is a legitimate top-end, number one receiver, and should continue to build on his already stellar reputation in 2015. At the high end of the spectrum, his sophomore season could look at lot like Allen Robinson's in 2012, when he caught 77 balls for 1018 yards and 11 TDs. I won't invoke the magic that was ARob's 2013, if only because Penn State has so many options that it's hard to picture Hamilton with almost 100 catches, but know that if anyone was going to come close to it this season, it would be Hamilton. The continued development in the linkup between Hack and BaeSean will be arguably the most fun part of the offense this year.