Allen Robinson caught 48-percent of the yards and 30-percent of the touchdowns Christian Hackenberg passed for last season.
So as Robinson heads out the door to his NFL future, the hole he leaves in Penn State’s offensive production is one that will take a group effort to fill. No single player will fill Robinson’s shoes but sophomore Eugene Lewis is ready to lead the charge in the post-Robinson era.
But in order to do that, Lewis will need to remember what one of Penn State’s most decorated receivers taught him, focusing on the details and hard work that takes your game to the next level.
“First thing I learned from him was that he was a really good route runner,” Lewis said. “He’s someone I paid attention to when I’d watch film. I realized at some point I wanted to be in that position. I realized how calm you have to be during the game. You can’t get rattled. Even when things don’t go well you have to keep playing through it.”
“He was one of the hardest-working guys I’ve seen and just so calm about things. He was ready for the moment. I think he’s going to be a great player for somebody. I just appreciate having him during my career.”
Fortunately for Penn State fans Lewis has been ready for the moment before this season, finishing off last year with a three catch, 91-yard performance against Wisconsin that saw him pull down a 59 yard bomb for Hackenberg for one of his two touchdowns on the day. In total, Lewis hauled in 18 catches last season for 234 yards and three scores.
Lewis won’t be able to do it on his own though and he isn’t the only Nittany Lion having a good spring session. Junior Matt Zanellato and sophomore Richy Anderson have both been practicing along side Lewis in the starting rotation and have had productive springs.
“Matty Z’s been having a great spring and Richy’s looked really good too,” Lewis said. “We’re the three guys coming back from last year. Even the younger guys — DaeSean Hamilton — they’re looking good too. I think we’re going to be fine.”
And that’s probably true, Penn State returns plenty of young talent and will inject the likes of DeAndre Thompkins into the mixture, Thompkins turning heads as perhaps the fastest player on the team. It’s all about the next man up and there are plenty looking to make their mark including Thompkins.
“He’s showed some flashes this spring,” Lewis said. “I think he’s going to be a really good player and help us out a lot this year. He’s had a good camp. just looking forward to what he’s going to do.”
Penn State fans won’t have to wait long to see what he’s going to to do though with the Blue White game only a day away. It’s a chance for James Franklin and his team to not only improve during the final practice of the spring but to showcase what they’ve been working on for the past several weeks.
Lewis hopes fans enjoy their efforts.
“Definitely some new players coming out, look forward to the offense that we have now,” Lewis said. “A lot of plays happening. I’m excited for the game. I know a lot of my teammates are.”