Even with Julian Fleming in Happy Valley, Harrison Wallace III could emerge as WR1

With all the hype surrounding Julian Fleming coming in via the transfer portal, Penn State may have an established receiver in Harrison Wallace who could turn into Drew Allar's go-to guy in the receiving game.
Iowa v Penn State
Iowa v Penn State / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Last season Penn State's most glaring weakness was the wide receiver room. The team's presumptive top target, KeAndre Lambert-Smith fizzled out by the season's end, and Harrison Wallace III got bit by the injury bug, only playing seven games. Penn State went into the portal and grabbed Julian Fleming, immediately finding its new No. 1 receiver. However, WR1 may have already been on the roster.

Wallace finished last year strong, catching four passes for 67 yards, including a touchdown in Penn State's loss to Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl. Lambert-Smith played just 21 snaps and saw just one target while Wallace played 54 snaps and saw a team-high five targets.

Wallace opened the season against West Virginia with seven receptions for 72 yards before exiting the game with an injury. While Lambert-Smith shined with over 100 receiving yards and two touchdowns, Wallace led the Nittany Lions in catches.

Prior to Wallace's return for the Peach Bowl, Drew Allar praised the sophomore wideout, telling reporters in Atlanta, "I would say it's something the offense needs," Allar continued, "he's a very consistent receiver, he's a very explosive receiver vertically."

Harrison Wallace may initially get overlooked in favor of Julian Fleming, whom Penn State originally recruited heavily out of high school when he was the top player in the state of Pennsylvania. Though, one thing though that Wallace may have over Fleming as of right now is chemistry with Drew Allar. In the 2022 match-up against Indiana, Allar found Harrison Wallace in tight coverage, showing he had confidence in his receiver to come up with the grab in traffic. Let's take nothing away from Wallace either, coming out of high school, he was a four-star recruit.

While Julian Fleming may be more of the coveted talent and prospect, he, like Wallace, has been hit by the injury bug. This, along with being buried on the depth chart behind elite Ohio State receivers like Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Marvin Harrison, has not created the opportunity for Fleming to be the go-to receiver. This begs the question, can Julian Fleming be a WR1? There are plenty of reasons to believe he will outproduce even his best year at Ohio State, but can he beat out Wallace for more reps? If not, where do Drew Allar and new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki turn?

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