Penn State Football: Nittany Lions Have Stockpile of Talented Receivers for 2017

Penn State enters the 2017 season stacked with talented receivers. 

Despite losing top wide receiver Chris Godwin to the NFL Draft, the Penn State Nittany Lions enter the 2017 season with a stockpile of talented receivers. The Nittany Lions took a major step forward in the passing game last year on the arm of quarterback Trace McSorley and the play  calling of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. This season, the depth chart is still loaded with receivers, meaning that the passing attack should once again be potent.

ESPN ranked Penn State as having the best receiving group for the 2017 season.

Other than Godwin, all of the receivers from 2016 will return, along with some newcomers.

The obvious choice for the No. 1 wide receiver spot is DaeSean Hamilton. Although he struggled the last two years, he showed his potential by leading the team in both receptions (82) and yards (899) as a redshirt freshman in 2014.

Saeed Blacknall, who turned into a dangerous downfield threat late in the year, is primed to have a big season in 2017. He finished 2016 with a touchdown in each of his last two games, inclining two in the Big Ten Championship.

DeAndre Thompkins, Irvin Charles, and Juwan Johnson will all be back. Brandon Polk, who played in one game last season, received a medical redshirt and will also return.

Thompkins is a speedster, but has yet to fully develop into a reliable receiver. He made 27 catches for 440 yards last season. His best performance came against Maryland when he pulled in four catches for 91 yards and his only score of the year.

Charles and Johnson were both talented receivers in the 2015 recurring class who saw their first action at Penn State last year. Charles had just two catches on the year, but one was a game-changing 80-yard touchdown reception in the win over Minnesota.

Aside from the returning players, some talented newcomers like redshirt freshman Dae’Lun Darien and true freshman Mac Hippenhammer could also be in the mix.

The x-factor of the receivers this season is tight end Mike Gesicki. The senior overcome struggles through his first two seasons in Happy Valley and had a breakout season in 2016. He finished second on the team with 48 receptions, 679 yards, and five touchdowns. He ended the season in a big way, making leaping touchdown catches in each of the last three games of the season.

Land of 10 recently tabbed Gesicki as having the possibility of being the best tight end in the country for the upcoming season.

New tight ends Nick Bowers, who missed all of 2016 with an injury after redshirting in 2015, and Danny Dalton, who redshirted last season, will add to the talent pool at the position.

One look at the depth chart, and it’s clear to see that Penn State enters the 2017 loaded with talented pass-catchers who could help to make an already potent offense even more dangerous.

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