Hamilton finally in the spotlight

posted September 19, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Kris Rogers

Many freshmen need a year to get acclimated to the college experience. For Penn State wide out DaeSean Hamilton, he used that year to prepare himself mentally. After sitting out his freshman year with an injury, Hamilton went from being a relative unknown to one of the nation’s top wide receivers.

 After a stellar first three games of his career, both he and teammate Geno Lewis have been added to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, which is given to the best wide receiver in college football. The last Nittany Lion to win the award was Bobby Engram in 1994, and Allen Robinson was a semi-finalist in 2013.

At his weekly press conference, Penn State head coach James Franklin addressed the development of his wide outs, both of whom have played key factors in the Nittany Lions’ undefeated 2014 season.

“…It’s not, stop this one guy. If you adjust too much to stop one guy, the other guy is going to hurt you, and that’s where it becomes dangerous,” said Franklin.

In his first season in Happy Valley, the Fredericksberg, Virginia native has caught 26 passes for 337 yards, including an 11 catch, 165 yard performance against UCF in the Nittany Lions’ season opener.

However, is it possible Hamilton’s best is yet to come?

A member of the 2013 recruiting class, the 6-foot-1, 200 pound receiver chose Penn State over the University of Virginia and Wake Forest. He was expected to make an impact on Bill O’Brien’s squad that year, but a season-ending wrist injury forced him to redshirt for the season.

Hamilton boasts sure hands, great route running ability, and an impressive vertical leap. But, he attributes his success to the work he did off the field recovering.

“I just took mental reps and learned the playbook, and basically I just tried to learn as much mentally without implementing the physical part since I couldn’t yet,” Hamilton said to the media on Tuesday.

The wide out also put in extra work with sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg and the other members of the receiving corps before and after team practices in order to develop trust in each other.

“It just built chemistry and timing, which is really important in our offense, and I learned he likes to put the ball in certain spots and he expects me to be in certain spots when he goes through his progressions.”

Hamilton was not cleared to take part in drills until March and didn’t officially practice with the team until April; days before the Blue-White Game.

“Physically, I feel great. I feel like I’ve finally got my football legs back. Against UCF I was just not getting it back. And now I finally feel like I’m back.”

Hamilton also showed some of his competitive nature when asked about his progression.

“I don’t necessarily set an expectation for myself. I never get satisfied and I always expect myself to do better than in prior games. I’m generally pleased, but I know there’s always room for me to do better.”

Penn State looks to continue its undefeated season as it takes on the UMass Minutemen Saturday at 4 p.m. at Beaver Stadium. Coverage begins on ComRadio live at 1 p.m. with The Tailgate Show.

Kristopher Rogers is a senior broadcast journalism major. To contact him, email klr5374@psu.edu.