In-house wide receiver options to replace KeAndre Lambert-Smith for Penn State football

Penn State was already thin at receiver before the spring transfer portal opened, but with two departures, Andy Kotelnicki and James Franklin may need to lock internally for replacements.
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. Liam Clifford. player. 6'1" 203 lbs. WR. Junior. Liam Clifford. Liam Clifford. . 491

Sean Clifford’s younger brother will get even more opportunity in 2024 after catching 13 passes for 130 yards last season. Over 90% of Clifford snaps came in the slot while Lambert-Smith was at 32.9% a year ago. Fleming and Wallace operate almost exclusively as outside receivers, both under 15% slot snaps, so Lambert-Smith was likely to move inside before deciding to move to a different school. 

Clifford is the player who will benefit the most from Lambert-Smith moving on, but there’s a question of how much Penn State’s offense will benefit from having him on the field. Clifford has reliable hands, catching 13 of his 21 passes with just one drop, but he lacks dynamic speed or playmaking ability. 

Last season, Clifford averaged just 3.4 yards after the catch per reception which ranks 291st out of 350 receivers who were targeted at least 15 times out of the slot last season. He’s also 293rd in yards per route run and 236th in average depth of target. 

Penn State needs somebody to play the slot, but maybe it shouldn’t be Clifford. He’s solid enough to not hurt the team but isn’t additive in any way and after last season, it’s clear that Drew Allar needs more playmakers on the field.