Every day during the next two weeks, NittanyNation will take a closer look at each position and how Penn State fared over the course of the season.
Up today: Wide receivers.
This was the position deep with bodies and shallow with experience. Thirteen wideouts began this season on the roster, and not a single one boasted more than 10 career receptions. Penn State ended up with just three upperclassmen here -- after redshirt junior Shawney Kersey left following Week 2.
Luckily for Penn State, sophomore Allen Robinson quickly showed he belonged in the conversation as one of the nation's best. His leaping ability made for several nice jump catches and, although he committed a few drops, he more than made up for them with big plays. His route-running ability caught many by surprise, and he ended the season with a school-record 77 catches. He's arguably the best wide receiver in the Big Ten, and he made fans forget all about Oklahoma transfer Justin Brown.
The problem with this receiving corps was that few other players stepped up. Brandon Moseby-Felder became Matt McGloin's No. 3 target, behind tight end Kyle Carter, out of necessity. He flashed speed and potential after a slow start, but drops and mental mistakes plagued him for much of the season. Moseby-Felder was inconsistent at best.
Outside of Moseby-Felder, the next leading receiver was Alex Kenney -- a football player who seemed more comfortable on the track than the gridiron. PSU never truly had a slot receiver threat, and Kenney finished with just two more catches than true freshman tight end Jesse James (17). Robinson greatly impressed ... but everyone else? Not so much.
NittanyNation rating: B-
Season highlight: Nov. 17 vs. Indiana. Robinson set the single-season receptions record in style this game. He needed just one reception -- but ended up with 10 catches for 197 yards and three touchdowns.
He was a big-play magnet for PSU. He accounted for PSU's first three scores, and he showed his athleticism on the second one. Robinson caught a short screen pass, headed upfield, faked out a safety with a spin, and sprinted 53 yards for the TD. This was his best game of the season and directly led to his quarterback being named the conference player of the week.
What was missing at this position? A threat other than Robinson. Moseby-Felder had his moments, but there needs to be more consistency here. Neither Evan Lewis nor Kenney could be depended upon; if it wasn't for the strong tight ends unit, this offense might have quite literally never gotten off the ground. Moseby-Felder could attribute some of his early season struggles to an injury, but freshman Eugene Lewis could be just what Penn State needs next season.