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Penn State Football Secures Talented, Diverse Class Of Wide Receivers On National Signing Day

James Franklin and Penn State football’s recruiting staff added a significant amount of talent at several positions during the first day of the Early Signing Period on Wednesday. However, it’s hard to argue that any group was more impressive than the five wide receivers that made their commitments to Penn State official.

Of the five wideouts that put pen to paper Wednesday, three are ranked as four-star prospects. Franklin discussed the potential that KeAndre Lambert, Jaden Dottin, Parker Washington, Malick Meiga, and Norval Black have throughout his post-signing day press conference, on Wednesday.

“I know this sounds obvious, but the priority is on elite ball skills, elite athletes that play multiple sports like basketball and things like that. Guys that can make plays,” Franklin said.

When talking about elite ball skills, the first player Franklin mentioned was Meiga. The 6’4″, 195-pound wideout from Montreal was ranked as the top-player from his home province and the 98th-best wide receiver in the recruiting class. The head coach explained that Meiga had an impressive camp and use his height and length to make some impressive plays on the ball.

While Meiga is certainly impressive in his own right, three of the most highly-touted receiver prospects that the Nittany Lions secured Wednesday were KeAndre Lambert, Parker Washington, and Jaden Dottin. All three four-star prospects received national attention throughout their recruitment, and Washington in particular has impressed.

The Richmond, Texas native was ranked as the 44th-best player from his football-crazed home state and the 46th-best wide receiver overall. He verbally committed to Penn State back in early July when he was still ranked as a three-star prospect, but received offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Boston College, among others.

Washington only stands at 5’10”, but his 201-pound frame have helped him find a way to make plays.

“Not the biggest guy, but watch his tape. He’s like a vacuum,” Franklin said of Washington. “Anything in his area, he’s catching. One-handed catches, crazy catches — and you’re going to look at him when he shows up. He looks like a running back. He is physically developed.”

The next wide receiver Franklin mentioned was Lambert, who may be one of the best athletes that Penn State recruited in its class of 2020. The third-ranked player out of Virginia currently runs a 4.50-second 40-yard dash and has a 3.83-second shuttle time, according to 247Sports.

In just his sophomore season of high school football, Lambert hauled in 1,069 receiving yards and started to gain plenty of national attention. Although there were rumors connecting him to Virginia Tech, the wide receiver verbally committed to Penn State on October 4 of this year.

Franklin described Lambert as a “tremendous playmaker after he gets the ball in his hands.” The wide receiver’s size and speed could make him a dangerous contributor to Penn State’s offense early in his Penn State career.

The final four-star wide receiver signee was Jaden Dottin, a Suffield, Connecticut native who was ranked as the third-best player from his state and the No. 51 wide receiver in the class. He received offers from Michigan, Michigan State, and Pitt, among others, but he committed to Franklin’s program on June 21. In his junior season of high school football, Dottin hauled in an impressive 29 catches for 593 yards six touchdowns.

The first wide receiver to commit to Penn State’s class of 2020 back in early June wasn’t even a high school student. Lackawanna College star Norval Black, who only got one offer from a Division I program. He brought in 15 catches for 445 yards and five touchdowns during the 2018 season at Lackawanna. Franklin mentioned Black’s 29.7 yards per catch stat line as “freaky” during his media availability on Wednesday afternoon.

Overall, Franklin was excited by the impressive group of receivers that he and his staff were able to bring in during this recruiting cycle. While KJ Hamler was clearly the top receiver for Penn State’s offense in 2019, Sean Clifford could have several new, consistent options to throw to as early as next season.

“We obviously think very highly of [our wide receivers]. There’s a lot of different body types. There’s a lot of different skills,” Frankin said. “Some of them, we look at at specific positions like slots, some of them we look at being multiple position guys, but guys that are going to be able to come in and compete.”

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism and is Onward State's sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]


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