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Meet The 2018 Class: Four-Star WR Jahan Dotson

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Taking a prospect-by-prospect look at Penn State’s elite 2018 recruiting class.

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 19 Rutgers at Penn State Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

A Penn State lean for much of the spring and summer, Jahan Dotson never pulled the trigger for the Nittany Lions. With spots filling up, Penn State moved on from the in-state pass catcher, who eventually committed to UCLA. But as fate would have it, both Dotson and Penn State would circle back around to each other, with Dotson flipping his commitment from UCLA to the Nittany Lions on December 20th.

Vitals

Position Hometown High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank
Position Hometown High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank
Wide Receiver Nazareth, PA Nazareth H.S. 5-foot-11, 170 pounds Four-star (0.9256)

Highlights

Scouting Report

One of the biggest knocks on Dotson is that he didn’t test well athletically. He ran just a 4.73-second 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle, and only had a vertical leap of 29.1 inches; both below-average numbers for a wide receiver. Tie that in with his short, wiry frame — 5-foot-11, 170 pounds — and there was legitimate cause for concern. But you put on the film, and Dotson looks like a completely different player.

Hey, who knows how fast that running back is, but Dotson looked pretty quick there. He also clocked in a 11.02-second 100M time as a sophomore. That compares favorably to Troy Apke’s track numbers as a high school senior, and Apke is a sub-4.5 player. I wouldn’t expect speed to be an issue for Dotson moving forward.

Beyond the weird testing numbers, Dotson plays with such a smoothness. Whether it’s sudden breaks in his routes or his elusiveness when he gets the ball in his hand, the game just seems to come easy to him. He’s a natural pass catcher who displays great body control when in the air, something that should help at the next level when going against defenders who are longer than him.

Outlook

As I touched on in Daniel George’s write-up, the possibility for playing time at wide receiver is there, but I think it’s more than likely that Dotson redshirts. Although he’s a pretty polished wideout, he’s going to need at least a year to get his body ready for the Big Ten. He plays bigger than 170 pounds, but I’m sure the staff would like to see him fill out a bit more.

Down the line, Dotson has the versatility to play outside and inside, but because of his lack of size, I’d guess he’d be most effective in the slot. He’s not the quick-twitch player KJ Hamler is, but could be a downfield threat from the slot position the way Daesean Hamilton was.