For the fourth time in as many years, Penn State wide receivers will have a different position coach. Taylor Stubblefield takes charge in 2020 after coming to Happy Valley from the Miami Hurricanes, replacing new West Virginia offensive coordinator Gerad Parker.
The Departures: KJ Hamler, Justin Shorter, and Mac Hippenhammer
Hamler moved on to the NFL after leading the Nittany Lions in receiving each of the last two years. Over those two years, Hamler had 98 receptions for 1,658 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s the Nittany Lions’ biggest loss, due in large part to the question marks surrounding the position.
Shorter came to State College as the top-rated wide receiver in the 2018 recruiting class. However, he never seemed to find himself as a player for the Nittany Lions. The redshirt sophomore entered the transfer portal last season before the regular season finale against Rutgers and later transferred to the University of Florida. He finished his Penn State career with just 15 receptions for 157 yards.
Hippenhammer, meanwhile, announced his intention to transfer to the Miami (Ohio) for the remainder of his college career. He finishes his Penn State football career with seven receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown.
Newcomers: Jaden Dottin, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Parker Washington, Malick Meiga
The names here to know for 2020 are KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Parker Washington. They’re the two 2020 recruiting class members who have the chance to make the biggest impact at the position this season. Lambert is 6-foot, 175-pounds with impressive speed and athleticism. Washington may well be the safest prospect in the entire recruiting class for the Nittany Lions, but especially at wide receiver. Washington has the tools and physical attributes to contribute from day one for the program and could see the field quite a bit as a true freshman. The Fort Bend Travis product had an incredibly productive high school career in Texas and, like former star DaeSean Hamilton, has a knack for getting separation.
Dottin and Meiga are both long-term talents to watch out for. Both have great upside and have desirable measurable in terms of height, at 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4 respectively, but both need to add weight and improve technically. It may take two or three years before either see the field.
The Nittany Lions receiving corps has potential entering 2020, but that has been the case every year since Josh Gattis left the program. This season, Penn State will need that potential to start showing on the field. There are still a lot of questions at the position entering the season and it’s unclear how long it will take for some of those questions to be answered.
Jahan Dotson enters the season as the probable No. 1, but beyond him the picture is definitely cloudy. Will Cam Sullivan-Brown or Daniel George take a step forward? Will one of the freshman step up? Perhaps it will be a redshirt freshman such as TJ Jones or John Dunmore. There are plenty of names that we can run through, but the struggles at the position over the last few years are hard to forget about. All in all, this will be an important year for this position group and a big challenge for Stubblefield.