Beginning with Bill O'Brien and continuing under James Franklin, Penn State has recruited the offensive skill positions exceptionally well over the past four years. The accumulation of those riches may be at its peak heading into the 2016 season and national writers are beginning to take notice, as Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports named the Penn State pass-catching contingent the fifth-best in nation, trailing only recent recruiting giants such as Alabama and Michigan and high-profile offensive units like Clemson and Oregon.
Feldman highlights Chris Godwin, whose breakout sophomore campaign in 2015 (69 recs, 1,101 yards, 5 TDs) earned him a spot on this summer's Biletnikoff Award watchlist, as well as DaeSean Hamilton, who led the Nittany Lions with 82 catches in 2014 and will provide a safety net from the slot position this fall for whomever starts at quarterback. In addition to the two proven playmakers, Feldman notes the depth that Penn State has at the position. Saeed Blacknall, DeAndre Thompkins, and Brandon Polk have all already seen the field in Penn State uniforms while Irvin Charles and Juwan Johnson, both redshirt freshmen with uncanny measurables and a ton of upside, will see their first game action in the blue and white this fall.
Additionally, Feldman praised Mike Gesicki, who he called a "freak" due to his size and athleticism. According to Feldman, the New Jersey native could become "a big headache for rival defenses" if he's able to work past some of the consistency issues that impacted him in 2015.
Some players, notably Hamilton, are already taking notice:
The top-ten list in its entirety:
- Penn State
- Texas A&M
- Washington State
- Oklahoma State
- Ole Miss