Today we continue our journey through the Penn State offense, taking a look at the year that was, the season to come in 2013, and in that great blogging tradition, assigning a grade. We have already dolled out a B+ to the offensive line, and a B to the runningbacks. Up next is Allen Robinson and the rest of the wide reeiving corps.
In my mind, there was not a bigger question on the Penn State offense going into the season than the wide receivers. 2011′s leading receiver Derek Moye was gone to graduation, 2nd in line Justin Brown was gone to Oklahoma, and 3rd place Devon Smith was gone to suspension, and ultimately Marshall. You had to go all the way to 2011′s 8th leading receiver, Shawney Kersey, before finding a returning player who had even caught a pass in college football, and he was gone by mid-September. So while Silas Redd’s departure left an obvious hole in the offensive backfield, the graduations, transfers, and dismissals left a gaping crater at receiver.
For much of fall camp, the name Allen Robinson was mentioned as a guy to keep your eye on. The sophomore from Southfield, Michigan (and high school teammate of departed QB Rob Bolden) had a grand total of 3 receptions for 29 years as a true freshman, but it was clear early he was going to be McGloin’s top target, catching 9 passes for 97 yards in the season opener. By the time things were done, Robinson had a school record 77 receptions for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns.
What made Robinson’s record breaking season even more impressive was the lack of a clear second option at receiver for much of the season. Shawney Kersey begam the season as the #2, at least on paper, but struggled early before leaving the program. Brandon Moseby-Felder ultimately wrapped up the season 3rd on the team with 31 receptions, but it was not until the second half of the season that he had established himself as a second option. The next closest receiver was Alex Kenney with 17 receptions. It is worth noting, however, that O’Brien’s passing scheme is of course heavily reliant on the tight end, which more than relieved the pressure on the receiving corps for much of the season.
Until fall camp opens in August of 2013, much of the talk on the receiving position is going to, for better or worse, revolve around Robinson, and the possibility of a transfer. At this point there is absolutely no indication that Robinson would consider leaving the Penn State program, and Coach O’Brien suggested in an AP interview Tuesday that he expects the entire roster to be there when spring practice opens. Assuming Robinson indeed is in the fold when things kickoff in the Meadowlands on August 31st, the Nittany Lion receiving corps will have gone from huge question to unquestioned strength for a new starting quarterback . Moseby-Felder’s late season emergence has given PSU a legitimate 2nd option, and when combined with Kenney, Trevor Williams and redshirt freshman Eugene Lewis, Stan Hixon is going to have quite the stable of talent to pick from to aid whoever wins the starting quarterback job.
As for a 2012 grade, it’s hard not to be generous when you are lead by a season like Allen Robinson turned in. The early season depth issues are a concern, but the emergence of Moseby-Felder down the stretch helps alleviate those, not to mention exceeding expectations by such a wide margin. With that, give the PSU wideouts an A-.
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