Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve taken a look at two of the more intriguing positions on the offensive side of the ball, quarterback and running back. Today’s too early look deals with what is likely the strength of the 2013 Penn State offense, the wide receivers. The Lions return every wide receiver from the 2012 season that caught a pass, or at least those that were with the team when the season ended (we’re looking at you Shawney Kersey). The strength at receiver (and tight end, but we’ll get to that) should help whoever emerges as the starting QB settle in a bit quicker.
Where do we start with the man that set a new Nittany Lions record with 77 receptions and was named the Big 10′s wide receiver of the year? How about the part where coaches and players all agree there’s a lot more there. Robinson scored 11 times and accumulated 1,013 yards in his first season garnering significant playing time. Perhaps most impressive is he did all of that without the benefit of a true #2 receiver until the tail end of the season. Sure, the tight ends were a huge part of the Lions’ aerial attack, but all you had to do is watch how defenses cheated to Robinson to know his talent. Along with a little more consistency from Robinson, something he has said his is focus going into 2013, the emergence of a 2nd or 3rd option at receiver should allow him to show even more ability.
When Shawney Kersey departed early in the season, the hole opposite Robinson became wide open. Moseby-Felder moved into the role, and as the season went on, was able to solidify the #2 spot, especially stretching the field with his speed. He finished the year with 31 receptions for 437 yards and 1 touchdown. With a new quarterback under center, having a strong second option at receiver is going to be crucial, and Brandon appears to be ready to step into that role.
It’s no secret that I’ve been extremely high on Lewis since he enrolled last summer. I would not be surprised if we look back in a couple years and call him the start of the recruiting class of 2012. It was a mild surprise, at least to me, that Eugene redshirted last year, but with the passing game humming along so well, as well as the emergence of Moseby-Felder, there was no reason to burn the redshirt of a talented player going into the teeth of the sanctions. With all of the talent around him, Lewis will not be relied on to be “the guy” right away, plus he won’t be dealing with the best defensive backs on the other side of the line. Call it a perfect storm for a talented redshirt freshman to make a big impact in his first season.
OTHER NAMES TO KNOW
I could go on all day about guys who will play and make their mark this fall. Here are some other key names to store away going into the spring and summer:
- Malik Golden – Another talented freshman that redshirted last year, Golden was not as heralded as Lewis, but will have the same opportunity his fellow freshman does to get time in his first season of eligibility.
- Alex Kenney – The State High product became O’Brien’s top threat out of the slot last season, and figures to be there when the season opens at MetLife Stadium against Syracuse.
- Trevor Williams – After Kersey’s transfer, the freshman stepped up with more playing time available, grabbing 10 passes for 97 yards. It will be interesting to see wher he fits in with new competition from Golden and Lewis.
There was a huge question going into last season if PSU’s receivers were prepared for a more passing oriented attack under O’Brien. They answered that question with an emphatic yes, and appear to be very well positioned going forward as well.
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