‘Polished’ DaeSean Hamilton Quietly Catching Greatness

DaeSean Hamilton’s easy going personality and dedication to his craft make him one of Penn State’s most respected players.

The graduate senior from Fredericksburg, Va., has filled a variety of roles for the Nittany Lion offense in his three years as a starting receiver. Another strong campaign could earn him an invite to the NFL combine.

First, he took over for Allen Robinson like it was nothing in 2014, leading the Big Ten in catches with 82 as a redshirt freshman. While his production dipped a bit the last two seasons, Hamilton was still a massively important piece of the puzzle.

He’s started all but two of his first 40 collegiate games since recovering from a nagging wrist injury that kept him sidelined his first year on campus. James Franklin and position coach Josh Gattis have complete trust in Hamilton, often using him as an example of the proper way to create separation using shoulder fakes and fancy footwork in his route running.

“I think Hamilton right now is having as good of a camp with all of those things that I’ve seen before,” Franklin said. “There are bigger guys, there are stronger guys, there are faster guys, but he is as polished and as productive of a wideout as I’ve been around in a camp setting. I think he’s gonna have a huge year for us.”

Remember, that list also includes Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Chris Godwin and the Buffalo Bills’ new No. 1 receiver Jordan Matthews — by far Franklin’s biggest star at Vanderbilt.

Hamilton was born in Okinawa, Japan, to U.S. Marine parents, so his discipline on the gridiron and in the classroom comes as no surprise. Despite being just 19 receptions away from setting Penn State’s all-time mark, Hamilton flies somewhat under the radar, even on his own team.

“I don’t really care if they say that,” Hamilton said. “Our offense is full of weapons. They can say whatever they want to. I just go out and do my role every single game.”

Hamilton’s career stat line: 161 catches for 1,985 yards and nine touchdowns.

Hamilton graduated last December with a degree in advertising and public relations and is currently working on a telecommunications diploma. He interned over at Medlar Field this summer, working long hours behind the scenes producing and editing video clips for the State College Spikes.

“It was a pretty good experience, a different side of sports production and things like that, but it was really fun,” Hamilton said.

On Saturdays, he constantly seems to come down with a big catch when his team needs it most.

As a freshman, Hamilton broke the school record for catches in a single game, posting 14 in the double overtime loss to Ohio State. With Penn State trailing Wisconsin 31-28 at the end of the third quarter in Indianapolis, he elevated for two huge back-to-back grabs of 38 and 25 yards, respectively, to set up Saquon Barkley’s go-ahead touchdown.

Hamilton went full David Tyree on this helmet-assisted gem versus the Badgers.

Now that the Nittany Lions don’t need to spend the majority of their time at training camp learning Joe Moorhead’s playbook, the offense should take a major step forward in his second year calling the shots — a scary thought for Big Ten defensive coordinators.

“There aren’t any new wrinkles going in or anything that’s unfamiliar to us,” Hamilton said. “For everyone basically to be able to play at a faster pace and be confident in their assignments, it really makes everything a lot easier.”

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected].

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