For the past four years, Penn State fans have had the honor of watching three of the best wide receivers in school history accumulate 498 receptions for 6,529 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Now that Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood, and Deon Butler have all left for the National Football League, it is up to three new faces to burden the load of production at the wide receiver position.
In this, Joe Paterno's 44th season at Penn State, the Nittany Lions have a lot to prove since they will be beginning anew with their crop of wideout's since the departing trio helped pave the way towards two Big Ten championships in four seasons.
In order for Penn State to stay as competitive as they have been, the new guys—Chaz Powell, Derek Moye, and Graham Zug, will have to leave their apprenticeship cards at home.
Nevermind that Powell, Moye, and Zug have combined for just 17 receptions. Just realize that these three are hungry for respect.
Chaz Powell is a 6-1, 195 lb. redshirt sophomore from Susquehannock High School in New Freedom, Pennsylvania.
Initially, Powell was expected to push for playing time at safety but has since projected to be a versatile gear in the cogs of Penn State's "Spread HD" offense.
Powell hauled in just two receptions as a freshman but did return kicks, averaging 28.78 yards per return. Powell also showed enough explosiveness to be utilized as a rusher, compiling 74 yards on eight attempts while crossing the goal line twice.
Alongside Powell will be Derek Moye, a 6-5, 200 lb. redshirt sophomore from Rochester High School in Rochester, Pennsylvania. Last year, Moye caught just three receptions for 71 yards and one touchdown.
He will be the focal point of the offense on crucial downs. As a true possession receiver with decent blocking skills, Moye is the type of receiver Penn State has not seen since Joe Jurevicious was suiting up for Joe Paterno in the '90s.
Don't let Moye's height prejudice you either. He is very quick and agile for a big wide receiver as he captured Pennsylvania Class AA state championships in the 200 & 400 meter dashes.
Finally, the third starting wide receiver for Penn State's "Spread HD" offense is the most experienced, Graham Zug. Zug, a 6-2, 180 lb. receiver from Manheim Central High School in Manheim, Pennsylvania, is as gritty as they come.
His play on the football field compares to that of WR Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year, Zug caught 11 receptions for 174 yards and two scores.
Zug is a redshirt junior who will play a large role in the offense this year. He does not possess great quickness so he will not factor into screen passes but he could be found making the difficult catch over the middle in the heart of the defense.
On a side note, senior WR James McDonald was dismissed from the football team after being charged with a D.U.I. in July.
To conclude, this trio of wide receivers are expected to play a more critical role within the offense as the differentiating aspects of each player should allow the offense to flow more precisely when tempos change during the course of a game.
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