WR Hamilton To Miss Season, Two Others Suffer Injuries
With a pesty scholarship limit and only 67 scholarship players on the roster, any and all injuries that hit Penn State football are devastating.
Today in his media day press conference, Bill O’Brien announced that three players — wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, tight end Brent Wilkerson, and linebacker Ben Kline — are all dealing with injuries in one way or another.
The most notable injury belongs to Hamilton, who will be forced to miss the entire season with a wrist injury. The actual injury is unknown, but O’Brien said in his press conference today that “(Hamilton) had a wrist injury in high school, and he basically showed up here with that injury.”
Hamilton comes in as a highly regarded wide receiver out of Virginia. ESPN ranked him as a four star wide receiver prospect, while Rivals had him listed as a three star athlete. Rivals also listed Hamilton as the number 15 best player in the state of Virginia, and he held offers from Illinois, Miami (FL), Michigan State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.
Luckily for the Nittany Lions, there will be plenty of guys to compensate for Hamilton. The team returns its top seven pass catchers from last season, including Allen Robinson, Kyle Carter, and Brandon Moseby-Felder. Penn State also adds four star tight end recruit Adam Breneman and Eugene Lewis, who was a four star wide receiver recruit in 2012 but redshirted last season.
While O’Brien wouldn’t comment on Wilkerson’s injury or how long he’ll be out — all he said was, “Brent Wilkerson will be out for a while” — Wilkerson has had back issues. Whether or not he will be out because of his back issues remains to be seen.
Like Hamilton, Penn State will be able to compensate for Wilkerson’s injury by being loaded at tight end. Last season, Carter, Matt Lehman, and Jesse James combined for 75 receptions, 1,025 yards and 10 touchdowns. Add Breneman to that mix, and while it would be nice to have Wilkerson as the backup to Carter as the official depth chart would imply, it’s probably in everyone’s best interest for his number one concern right now to be his health.
It is important to note that Wilkerson did redshirt last year, so if he were to miss this season, he could apply for a sixth year of eligibility down the road.
The last guy that O’Brien mentioned was Kline, who is currently listed as Mike Hull’s backup at outside linebacker. While Kline’s injury is the least severe of the three, O’Brien said Kline is “in-and-out with shoulder issues, but I believe he’ll be ok,” losing him would probably hurt the Lions the most.
The team currently has four returning scholarship linebackers in Hull, Glenn Carson, Nyeem Wartman, and Gary Wooten, along with one incoming freshmen under scholarship in Brandon Bell. The team has also brought on twelve run-ons.
There are certainly things O’Brien could do if Kline were to get injured — he has mentioned that Adrian Amos and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong will get some time at linebacker, and Bell would almost certainly need to play more than teams would normally want out of a freshman — but it appears that Kline’s shoulder is nothing to worry about right now.