Penn State misses out on four-star wide receiver who would have been a perfect fit in Andy Kotelnicki's offense

With new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki, Penn State is prioritizing offensive weapons for its bevy of talented quarterbacks, but another one just slipped away.
Penn State Spring Football Game
Penn State Spring Football Game / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Andy Kotelnicki’s offense is all about creativity. For the former Kansas offensive coordinator, that manifests itself in many ways, from formations, to pre-snap motions, to whatever this was:

So, with such a creative offense being installed in Happy Valley, Penn State has begun to target versatile skill players in recruiting. Last weekend, the Nittany Lions landed four-star athlete Jeff Exinor Jr. who at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds is a unique wide receiver/tight end hybrid who will be a mismatch nightmare. However, that good news was followed a few days later by Matthew Outten’s commitment to Virginia Tech. 

Outten, a four-star wide receiver from Portsmouth, Virginia announced on Monday that he’s staying in-state to play for the Hokies and James Franklin’s former defensive coordinator, Brent Pry. With 20 players, including two receivers with Exinor and Lyrick Samuel, committed to the 2025 class, Penn State is in a great spot after a busy June, but Outten is a significant loss. 

At 6-foot and 200 pounds, Outten has a compact frame and is more of a running back with the ball in his hands. He doesn’t shy away from physicality after the catch and some of his biggest plays in high school came on quick screens or jet sweeps that he broke big. His combination of contact-balance, elusiveness, and straight-line speed is rare. He's the type of dynamic player that Penn State desperately needs for the future after a particularly boring offensive season in 2023.

To compare any high schooler to a player like Deebo Samuel is unfair to all parties, but Outten has a similar play style to the former South Carolina Gamecock turned San Francisco 49er. He could easily take handoffs out of the backfield and be an effective runner between the tackles, which he’s done as a wildcat quarterback, or play one-on-one as an outside receiver. 

A player with that type of versatility can open up so many options for an offensive coordinator, but only if he knows how to take advantage of his talents. Matthew Outten is not a traditional receiver and it’s unclear if Virginia Tech will try to use him as one, but Kotelnicki certainly wouldn’t. 

Creative play-callers need unique players and Franklin and Kotelnicki just missed out on one of the most unique weapons in the 2025 class. Outten's announcement means that Penn State wide receiver options are continuing to dry up. In June, Quincy Porter from New Jersey committed to Ohio State, and Phillip Bell from California is trending towards a USC commitment. Lex Cyrus, a PA four-star could be the next Nittany Lion commit, but if he changes his mind, Exinor and Samuel are not enough to replenish one of Penn State's most barren position groups.