The Penn State Nittany Lions enter the 2014 season missing two starting wide receives from last year. Two-time Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year Allen Robinson and Brandon Felder have both moved on. Geno Lewis figures to step into the number one receiver role. However, after Lewis, the position battle at wide receiver is wide open. Someone who could be ready to play a big role in 2014 is Matt Zanellato.
Zanellato played in eight games in 2012 and made two catches. Last season, he played in all 12 games, making four catches for 53 yards. While those numbers are unimpressive, Zanellato had a good spring and could wind up starting for the Nittany Lions when the season starts. During the Blue-White Game, he caught two passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Standing at six-foot-three, Zanellato makes a big target for quarterback Christian Hackenberg. His experience and size could make him a reliable weapon this season for the Nittany Lions in the passing game.
Coming out of high school in Virginia, Zanellato was a rated as a 4-star recruit by Scout.com and was one of the 50 best receiver prospects in the country. In his senior year of high school, he put up very impressive numbers. Zanellato caught 94 passes for 1,756 yards and 21 touchdowns. He’s had limited opportunities to show those skills at the collegiate level, but that could change in 2014.
Due to a lack of depth, Zanellato has to be considered a favorite at this point to nab a starting wide receiver position, as he’s one of just two returning receivers from last season who has a catch in his collegiate career. Besides Zanellato and Lewis, just Richy Anderson brings prior experience to the wide receiver experience.
The Nittany Lions will need someone this season to catch passes from Hackenberg, and based on spring practice, Zannellato has as good a chance as anyone to step into a larger role in 2014.
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