It’s time for our annual season top 10! Each summer, the staff votes on its top 10 players ahead of the upcoming season. A first place vote is worth 10 points, second place is worth nine points, and so on.
Reminder: This is a Top 10 for how the players will produce this season. It’s not just based on what they have done in their career up to this point. Instead, it’s how we think they will play this coming season.
How He Got Here
Parker Washington arrived as part of the 2020 recruiting class, along with fellow receivers Jaden Dottin, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Norval Black and Malick Meiga. As a three-star prospect at 5-11, 195 lbs., Washington immediatly rose to the top, becoming a key part of the offense as a true freshman. He initially proved effective as a possession receiver who could convert third downs in traffic, while his big play ability increased with each week. It was a remarkable season of growth where Washington continued to build his skillset into a complete receiver by the end of his first season in Happy Valley. He would finish second on the team in all statistical categories behind Jahan Dotson, who was the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Washington contributed 36 catches for 489 yards with six touchdowns.
Washington was probably the best receiver most people outside of the Penn State fanbase had not heard of in 2021 while again sharing the load with Dotson. He proved week after week that he could handle anything thrown at him - being a downfield threat, making tough catches in traffic, keeping plays alive by finding soft spots in the defense, and making several finger-tip circus catches that you had to rewatch to see how he pulled it off. His 57 receptions and 722 yards were a merked improvememnt from his true freshman season, although his touchdowns dipped from six to four.
What to Expect in 2022
The sky is the limit for Washington this fall. He’ll be stepping into the role of the primary passcatcher now that Dotson is playing on Sundays. He’s already proven as an elite reciver, as will be coming off another full offseason to further home his skills. Washington has a chance to become one of the very best receivers in the nation this season, joining last year’s Biletnikoff Award in USC’s Jordan Addison and Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who we last saw going off for 337 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl.
Washington will need to increase his trips to the end zone, and should see last season’s four scores at least double with more targets. We should also see more creative “let’s just get the ball in Parker’s hands” playcalls that will add to his highlight reel.
There’s a great chance Washington will be ranked first again in our postseason top 10. It’s his time to shine.