Penn State potential transfer portal wide receiver targets to replace KeAndre Lambert-Smith

Andy Kotelnicki and Drew Allar need some weapons to make the offense work and it might be up to James Franklin to go into the transfer portal and find them.
Colorado State's Justus Ross-Simmons (2)
Colorado State's Justus Ross-Simmons (2) / Lucas Boland/The Coloradoan / USA TODAY
1 of 3

The No. 1 position of need for Penn State coming out of the 2023 season was wide receiver. That was made abundantly clear by Ole Miss’s dominance in the Peach Bowl. If Drew Allar is ever going to make good on his five-star potential, then he needs weapons to help him. 

James Franklin delivered with Julian Fleming, but an Ohio State castoff didn’t feel like a big enough splash then and it certainly feels inadequate now with last year’s WR1, KeAndre Lambert-Smith leaving through the spring transfer portal window. Franklin and Andy Kotelnicki have some options for in-house replacements, but if Penn State truly wants to compete for a Big Ten title which should always be the goal, then adding another pass-catcher this spring feels like a must. 

Fleming is the top dog in that wide receiver room and Harrison Wallace III, if he can stay healthy will be a solid No. 2, but there are plenty of quality options for WR3 out on the open market. 

. 6'2" 195 lbs. WR. Eligibility Remaining: 2. player. Sam Brown. . Sam Brown. Sam Brown. 450

Kotelnicki loved to use tall receivers at Kansas, so Brown could be a fit from that perspective. He saw the most targets among Houston receivers last year with 90 and hauled in 61 of them for 800 yards and three touchdowns. 

Brown was a productive receiver who is effective after the catch. He averaged 6.7 yards after the catch per reception and had an average depth of target of 10.2. Those numbers almost exactly mirror Lambert-Smith’s last season (6.3 yac/rec, 9.7 ADOT). However, he may not be a perfect fit. 

Kotelnicki would need to be creative to get all three of Fleming, Wallace, and Brown on the field together at the same time. Brown’s slot usage, which is where Lambert-Smith was projecting to play the majority of his snaps, was just 12.1% last year. Brown averaged just 9.94 yards per route run over 20 yards downfield and is not an elite deep threat. 

Brown is a talented player and his profile and a big receiver who can do damage after the catch on short and intermediate routes meshed very well with Allar’s strengths, but he doesn’t cover up Penn State’s deficiencies, so it’s just a question of which is more important.