The Penn State wide receivers highlight the 2020 football season. A unit that was almost a liability in 2019 stepped up in a big way in 2020. After KJ Hamler left for the NFL fans and critics alike thought the unit wouldn’t be able to recover. However, all of those naysayers were wrong. Jahan Dotson led a group of young talent all through the 2020 season. Wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield did something that his predecessors weren’t able to do; maximize the talent of the wide receivers and allow for a well-rounded, balanced passing attack.
Penn State Wide Receivers Highlight 2020
Not much went right for the Nittany Lions during the 2020 season, but the wide receivers were a bright spot. Each year for Penn State there is one guy that leads the group, this year was a little bit different. In 2019 it was Hamler. Before him, it was DaeSean Hamilton and before him Chris Godwin. Sure, there were some supporting actors, such as Juwan Johnson, but for the most part, it was one of those main three and the tight ends. However, with Pat Freiermuth out with injury for the majority of the season he wasn’t there as a security blanket.
Last week Dotson announced that he will be returning for the 2021 season. This means that the top two leading receivers will be returning for the Nittany Lions. Dotson led the group with 52 receptions, 882 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns through a shortened season. He also averaged 17 yards per reception.
— Jahan Dotson (@H55ZY) January 7, 2021
Close behind Dotson in all stat lines was true freshman Parker Washington. In his debut season, Washington was second in all receiving categories. The Texas native shined under Stubblefield. Washington accounted for 489 receiving yards on 36 receptions. In addition, he averaged 13.6 yards per reception and tallied six touchdowns.
Wide Receivers Coach Stubblefield Brings Consistency
Stubblefield has brought a lot to the table since being hired by the Nittany Lions. Specifically, his attention to detail and engagement during games. After the 0-2 start Stubblefield stated, “I really do believe that when you’re consistent, in everything that you do, the explosives are going to happen.” This proved to be true over the rest of the season. Working on consistency with young receivers allows them to build confidence, which allows for big plays. There has been a lot of turnover at the wide receiver coach position and going into the 2021 season this will be the first time the wide receivers will have the same coach from one season to the next. This is very important. Especially with the third receiver on the list being another freshman.
After two tight ends, Freiermuth and Brenton Strange, Keandre Lambert-Smith rounds out the top three receivers for the Nittany Lions in the 2020 season. Lambert-Smith did not record a touchdown in 2020, but he showed flashes of what he is capable of as he progresses. Stubblefield had nothing but praise for the young receiver, stating, “He demonstrates the ability to be very explosive, he has some size to him, and he catches the ball pretty gosh dang well. The biggest thing that we’ve seen from him is his competitiveness.” Lambert-Smith showed that competitiveness in six games this season, recording 15 receptions for 138 yards.
What to Watch For in the Offseason
Not only will the wide receivers be keeping their coach, but they will be getting a new offensive coordinator that likes to utilize explosive offenses. New Penn State Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich, will likely utilize these receivers to the fullest. With Dotson coming back and Washington and Lambert-Smith progressing into sophomores, the wide receivers might finally be a strength heading into the 2021 season.