COLUMN:  Jahan Dotson has a Legitimate Shot to be a Top-Five Wide Receiver in Penn State History

Opinion posted September 15, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Zech Lambert

Call it 610 bias if you want, but when he finally calls it a career, I firmly believe Jahan Dotson will go down as one of the best receivers to ever don the blue and white.

Dotson is quietly climbing up the all-time Penn State receiving leaderboards in virtually every category.

His 15 touchdowns tie him for 10th with Terry Smith, Mike Gesicki and Joe Jurevicius.

The next time he hauls in a pass for six points it will tie him with O.J.McDuffie and Pat Friermuth for eighth, and touchdown No. 17 will tie him with Allen Robinson for seventh.

It is exceedingly likely the Nazareth, Pennsylvania, native sits alone in fourth place, if not higher, in terms of receiving touchdowns, as he needs only four more to claim a spot in the top four, which would put him over the likes of Chris Godwin and Desean Hamilton.

It’s not only touchdowns that Dotson excels in, though, as the senior is only 258 yards shy of becoming the 10th Nittany Lion ever to rack up 2,000 receiving yards.

With still at least 10 games to play, if he keeps up his career pace of 54 yards per game (which is a generous estimate), he would finish seventh all-time in yardage with nearly 2,300 yards.

Dotson is also a pass-catching machine, with 102 receptions heading into the Week 3, White Out date with Auburn.

Keeping with his current pace of five receptions per game this season, he’d finish right behind Chris Godwin for eighth in program history, and that’s if the Nittany Lions don’t go to a bowl game.

What makes Dotson’s on-field numbers even more impressive is the fact that he saw limited action as a freshman, only reeling in 13 catches for 203 yards.

He also suffered from a shortened season in his junior campaign and didn’t get the chance to put up gaudy numbers against any FCS or Group of Five schools due to the conference-only schedule.

On top of just the statistics, though, Dotson also has signature moments to define his career, just as many of the all-time great Penn Staters do.

While it may not be Saquon Barkley’s Rose Bowl run, Dotson ‘Moss’d’ Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade not once, but twice on the same drive, assisting in sending the Buckeye defender to the third day of the NFL Draft, albeit in an empty stadium.

He also still has a full season to do something spectacular, and given the Nittany Lions already have a big win under their belts just two games into the season, there’s a chance it comes in a New Year's Six Bowl or, dare I say it, a College Football Playoff game.

Coming to Penn State, though, carried a lot of expectations for Dotson.

Given the fact that he hails from the Lehigh Valley, obvious comparisons would be drawn to arguably the best running back to ever rep the basic blues — fellow 610 native Barkley.

Dotson also thrilled Penn State fans when he flipped his commitment on signing day from UCLA to Penn State, making the 4-star an even more prominent figure before his arrival to Happy Valley.

Whether his game will translate to the next level is yet to be seen.

He has the hands and route-running ability to be a solid slot option, but if he can add some size, Dotson could even be a WR2 on Sundays, but that doesn’t take away what he’s been able to do on Saturdays.

Dotson’s illustrious career as a Nittany Lion does not get the respect it rightfully deserves, and none of it would be possible without his underrated quarterback, Sean Clifford — but don’t get me started on that.

Undoubtedly, Dotson is already a top-15 receiver in Penn State history, pushing top 10, and don’t be surprised if by season’s end he finds his way into the top five.


Zech Lambert is a fourth-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zbl5146@psu.edu.