Over the last few weeks, the discussion about Allen Robinson's future has been a hot topic. Penn State's junior wide receiver is set to graduate in May but has another year of college eligibility if he chooses to utilize it. Audrey Snyder of PennLive.com explains that Robinson won't address his future and NFL aspirations right now, and he denies that he spends very much time thinking about it.
While certainly possible, it's difficult to envision the nation's seventh-best receiver who is averaging the second-most yards per game returning for another season.
Most experts, including CBSSports.com's draft team, currently think "ARob" would be a second-round selection in the NFL draft. He could improve on that depending how well he tests at the combine. CBS' Dane Brugler is already projecting Robinson to go in the first round.
If Robinson does declare early for the draft, how will the Nittany Lions manage without him?
|OPPONENT||Robinson's Yards||Team Receiving Yards||% of Receiving Offense|
At times, it seems as though the Penn State offense only operates properly when Robinson performs at his elite level. That's fine for now, but is there someone in the fold who will be able to come close to matching his production?
The team's second-leading receiver, Brandon Felder, is a senior. After him on the stat sheet, you'll find freshmen wide receivers Geno Lewis and Richy Anderson, who have 11 catches each. They will likely both play bigger roles in 2014, but how much more production can be expected from them?
Allen Robinson has had 11 catches or more in three different games this season.
There will be new receivers contributing next season. DaeSean Hamilton is currently redshirting after wrist surgery. Class of 2014 verbally committed wideouts Chris Godwin and DeAndre Thompkins both have the goods to make early impacts after arriving on campus.
But relying on players who haven't taken a snap in college can be dangerous.
Truthfully, the best chance Penn State will have of filling the void left by Robinson is via its tight ends.
Would you really blame Allen Robinson for going pro if he’s projected within the first 2 rounds? This isn’t Maurice Evans.— Nittany Lines (@nittanylines) November 6, 2013
The Nittany Lions will return their top three pass-catching tight ends next season: Kyle Carter, Jesse James and Adam Breneman. Between them, they have 37 catches for over 400 yards this year. But they're capable of much more. In 2012, Carter had 453 yards on his own and James contributed with five touchdowns.
They'll also be joined by incoming freshman tight end Mike Gesicki, who may prove to be the best receiving option of them all.
It's naive to think that Penn State will find one player who steps up and replaces Robinson's production. He's on pace to shatter the school record for receiving yards in a season and is the best receiver to come out of the Big Ten in years.
However, the Nittany Lions may be able to keep the offense clicking with a combination of players making contributions.
Will Allen Robinson return for his senior season?
In the coming years, Penn State will have more talent at the wide receiver and tight end positions than it has ever had before, as well as a creative head coach who can adjust his offense to fit his personnel. Throw in quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who should improve with experience, and the sky is the limit for this Penn State offense.
Nittany Lions fans may never again see this kind of season from another individual receiver. Of course, if Robinson decides to come back for his senior season, maybe they will.