Allen Robinson, WR (6-foot-3, 199 pounds)
As a true freshman last season, Robinson impressed enough early on to avoid a redshirt despite having veterans like Derek Moye and Justin Brown in the lineup. Robinson saw limited action, though, grabbing three passes for 29 yards.
Robinson outdid that in his first Blue-White Game, pulling in three passes for 87 yards with plenty of yards after the catch.
This year, with Moye gone and a revamped offense, the Penn State staff is looking to Robinson to emerge into a consistent target for the passing game. During the spring Robinson, impressed observers with his progress and the "refinement of his play."
Speed: Robinson has quickness off the line, but "does not have top gear speed," as one observer put it. He has improved with his ability to get off the line crisply, but needs to use his other skills to create separation.
As one observer said, "He doesn't need great speed (to excel at receiver). All he has to do is use his size advantage and get precise on the routes and he'll be a strong target."
Routes: Speaking of routes, Robinson has put an added focus on being more precise on them. As one observer said of his route-running in the spring, "He was running some of the tightest routes out there."
This aspect of his game played well with the coaching staff and earned him an increase in first-team work as the spring period progressed. "[Bill O'Brien] stressed nailing the yardage on routes — five yards mean five yards. Allen did this and they liked what they saw," an observer said. Robinson's routes were often used as good example for the other receivers.
Hands: Robinson has shown impressive receiving fundamentals and strong hands. "He's made some beautiful catches of some ugly balls," according to another observer.
Robinson is still working on getting his body squared and setting a big target with his hands. However, generally speaking, he has shown consistency with his hands this off-season.
Strength: Probably the biggest area of focus for him this off-season has been and will continue to be improvement with his overall strength. "He's gotten better handling coverage," an observer said. "He doesn't get pushed around as much, but he has work to do."
This is where PSU's new strength program will help. The sentiment seems to be that the consistent squats in particular have given him a stronger core to handle corners and run through coverage off the snap.
Impact: With Brown as the lead receiver, the coaching staff is looking for candidates to fill out the depth chart and give the team different dimensions in the passing game. Robinson has been one of those primary candidates. He has has to focus on refining his strength and routes, but his overall fundamental play has been strong.
Robinson will have to contend with fellow receivers like Shawney Kersey, Brandon Moseby-Felder and Matt Zanellato, but at this stage he appears to be positioned to make a significant impact in the passing game this coming season.
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