PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Young Receiving Corps Expected To Carry Load Of Penn State Offense

James Franklin’s wide receiver room will lose a couple of experienced veterans next season.

Juwan Johnson and Brandon Polk are in the NCAA’s transfer portal, and fifth-year senior DeAndre Thompkins is out of eligibility. Losing experienced talent at any position can hurt, but the Nittany Lions are in good shape to replace the outgoing wideouts.

Both Johnson and Polk struggled throughout the 2018 season. Johnson had some well-documented issues with dropped passes last season, and Polk was largely ineffective, only posting nine catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Penn State will also bring back its leading receiver from last season, KJ Hamler, who led the team in receptions (42) and receiving yards (754) while hauling in five touchdowns.

Hamler made a handful of highlight-reel plays last season, including a breathtaking 93-yard catch-and-run against Ohio State. With a lack of other proven options at receiver next season, the Nittany Lions will need Hamler to take another step forward.

Hamler wasn’t always expected to be a key piece of Penn State’s passing game, but he clearly emerged as a star on Ricky Rahne’s offense. It should be interesting to see how he manages expectations for the first time in his career.

Justin Shorter is another player to watch at wideout next season The talented youngster preserved a year of eligibility and will enter next season as a redshirt freshman. Shorter is a former five-star recruit who didn’t take the field much last season, but expect him to step into a big role in 2019. Like Johnson, Shorter boasts excellent size with a 6’4″, 226-pound frame. He could become Penn State’s most reliable deep threat and jump-ball specialist in 2019 if he develops as anticipated over the course of the offseason.

Freshman Jahan Dotson was also impressive in limited playing time in 2018, posting 13 catches for 203 yards. In the absence of Thompkins, Johnson, and Polk, Dotson should have the opportunity to make a case for himself this spring when the coaching staff decides who will start opposite Hamler.

Based on his efficiency in 2018, Dotson may be the most promising prospect Penn State has at wide receiver. Nine of his 13 receptions throughout the season resulted in first downs, including a season-long 35-yarder against Rutgers.

Other young receivers who could push for more playing time next season are Mac Hippenhammer, Daniel George, and incoming freshman John Dunmore. Hippenhammer made just six catches for a solid 103 receiving yards, and Daniel George was on the receiving end of the longest touchdown pass in Penn State history against Kent State.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Matthew Fox

Matt is a Senior from Lansdale Pennsylvania majoring in Broadcast Journalism. He loves sports, and is still patiently waiting for the Philadelphia Flyers to win a Stanley Cup. If you would ever like to reach out to Matt you can email him at [email protected]


Other posts by Matthew

Defensive Struggles Continue To Plague Penn State Hockey

Despite averaging a nation’s best 4.86 goals per game, the team’s defense has allowed teams to stick around in high-scoring affairs.

No. 11 Penn State Hockey Takes Down Michigan State 4-2

No. 9 Penn State Hockey Ties Princeton 4-4 In Philadelphia Faceoff

Join Onward State: Spring 2019 Application

Want to be a part of the nation’s premier student-run media outlet? Want to have your words read or your pictures seen by hundreds of thousands of readers and social media followers? More importantly –do ya like having fun? Believe it or not, it’s that time again. Onward State is hiring for the spring semester and we’d […]

Penn State Releases Report Outlining 31 Hazing Violations From 2013-2018

The report outlines 31 instances of hazing university-wide that occurred between 2013 and 2019, including dates, a general description, and details of the sanctions levied.

Send this to a friend