Position Preview: Wide Receivers

(Photo: GoPSUSports.com)

The receiving corps for the Nittany Lions this year is one of the best assets the team has because of the depth and amount of guys that can contribute. Although they graduated a ton of leadership from Graham Zug and Brett Brackett, they return 2010 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention wide out Derek Moye as well as Devon Smith and Justin Brown to go along with a young roster budding with play making potential.

The Starters

Derek Moye | SR | 6′ 5″ | 210 lbs

Moye returns for his senior season after a break through year in 2010 in which he caught 53 balls for 885 yards and 8 TDs. A 1st Team All-Big Ten preseason selection by ESPN, Moye will be relied on as the go-to-guy this year. Although he does not carry much weight on his 6’5” frame, Moye has the ability to oust most cornerbacks for a jump ball. Regardless of who is behind center this season for the Nittany Lions, Moye will be the first option most of the time and is poised to become the first Penn State receiver to rack up 1,000 yards in a single season since Bobby Engram did it back in 1995.

Justin Brown | JR | 6′ 3″ | 214 lbs

After seeing minimal time as a freshman in 2009, Brown eased his way into the rotation in 2010 and by the end of the season was a starter, grabbing 33 balls for 452 yards and one score. A very physical receiver, Brown uses his size and good route-running skills to find a hole in the defense. He will benefit from playing with Moye, who could draw double teams, and will present a mismatch for teams with weaker secondaries.

Devon Smith | JR | 5′ 7″ | 155 lbs

The speedster saw action during his freshman season, but it was mainly in trick play packages. During his sophomore campaign, Smith had 27 receptions for 363 yards and one TD while being involved as a slot receiver. With big receivers like Moye and Brown, Smith can get lost in the secondary of opposing teams. Penn State went 3-1 last season when Devon Smith recorded 50 receiving yards or more.

The Rest

Bill Belton | FR | 5′ 9″ | 191 lbs

The true freshman could see some time this season, especially if Curtis Drake is not healthy. He has been impressive so far in practice, and could see some time in the return game.

Curtis Drake | SO | 5′ 11″ | 173 lbs

Drake caught 8 balls for 98 yards and also threw a touchdown pass as a true freshman in 2009, but was sidelined during the 2010 season and forced to redshirt after suffering a broken leg. His recent legal troubles may have him in Paterno’s doghouse, but with his talent it will be hard for the coaching staff to deny him playing time.

Shawney Kersey | SO | 6′ 1″ | 198 lbs

After threatening to transfer halfway through the 2010 season, Kersey is back and poised to contribute this year. With explosive speed, Kersey could see time in the slot and in the return game. His most impressive moment in blue and white was during the 2010 spring game, when he hauled in two touchdowns.