The Penn State Nittany Lions will look to build off of a successful 2012 campaign that saw many players emerge for breakout seasons. Wide receiver Eugene Lewis, who redshirted last year, will be a name that fans will know by the end of 2013.
The Pennsylvania native was the gem of the Nittany Lions' 2012 recruiting class. Rivals.com rated him as a 4-star recruit and the fourth-best in the state. Lewis spent a year practicing and learning the system, even playing quarterback for the scout team to help prepare for Taylor Martinez and Braxton Miller.
Though Penn State has all of its starting wide receivers returning from last season, Lewis will find a spot on the depth chart for 2013. According to victorybellrings.com, "The word out of training camp this past summer and out of practices this past fall was that Lewis is one of the most athletic players on the team."
During the 2012 season, Allen Robinson, who was a virtual unknown, broke out and led the Big Ten in receiving with 1,013 yards and 11 touchdowns. Nobody would expect those types of numbers from Lewis in 2013, though solid production from the redshirt freshman is not impossible.
At 6'2", he presents a good target for his quarterback and should become an important part of the Penn State passing attack.
His ESPN Recruiting Nation scouting report states:
"Lewis is a big, jump ball pass catcher with good size, long arms and a competitive instinct to attack the football at its highest point. He is a playmaker when the ball is in the air which is why he has been such a vertical threat despite not having elite speed."
Sure, 2013 will be different on offense for Penn State because of a new quarterback. However, former walk-on Matt McGloin, 2012's starter, had as much time to learn Bill O'Brien's system as the 2013 quarterbacks will. In fact, Steven Bench, who may be the early front-runner for the starting job, was the backup last year and spent an entire year learning the offense.
Regardless of who's under center, Lewis will be a player to watch on offense. Defenses will likely key on Robinson with double-teams, presenting opportunities for the other receivers on the field.
Last season, in O'Brien's system, six different wide receivers caught passes. Because of how the ball is spread around, Lewis will get opportunities when on the field.
Look for Lewis to be a contributor on offense for the Nittany Lions in 2013. He is someone to keep an eye on.