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Pair of Nittany Lions Named as Sporting News Preseason All-Americans

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The returning stars look to be among the very best at their position heading into the 2021 season.

Illinois v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Is Jahan Dotson the nation’s top wide receiver heading into the 2021 season? Penn State fans will certainly support that argument, and the folks at Sporting News agree this could be the case heading into the fall.

Dotson was named as a first-team selection, joining Ohio State’s Chris Olave as the two receivers named. Sporting News had this to say about Dotson’s inclusion:

Dotson was among the bright spots for the Nittany Lions last season. He averaged 17.0 yards per reception, and he had five games with 100 yards or more. Dotson’s 144-yard, three-TD performance against Ohio State in primetime highlighted a skillset that will translate well at the next level.

Penn State’s 4-5 record in 2020 may have caused Dotson’s breakout season to be overshadowed on a national scale. However, several highlight-reel plays, especially the aforementioned performance against the Buckeyes, helped Dotson to be a midseason addition to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. In just nine games, Dotson caught 52 passes for 884 yards with eight touchdown receptions. His season got off to a hot start and never slowed down, as he was the first Nittany Lion to have five touchdown receptions in the first three games of the season since Joe Jurevicius did so in 1997. He also set a program record with a 24.6 yard punt return average for the season.

Safety Jaquan Brisker was also honored as a second-team All-American. Like Dotson, Brisker had a breakout campaign in 2020 which quickly led to him being recognized among the best at his position throughout the nation. Brisker finished 2020 with 57 tackles, three TFLs and an interception. Brandon Joseph of Northwestern and Kyle Hamilton of Notre Dame received first-team honors at safety.

Both Dotson and Brisker made the decision to return to State College rather then enter the NFL Draft with the goal of leading Penn State’s efforts to bounce back from a disappointing 2020 season.