The Virginia native was only on campus a short time when he told the coaching staff about a sore left wrist that had been bothering him since the end of his senior season in high school. Trainers and doctors checked it out, and diagnosed Hamilton with a broken scaphoid, a small bone at the very bottom of the thumb near the wrist.
But the small bone was causing big trouble. Hamilton had surgery shortly thereafter.
They had to go in from the top and take out dead bone, then put in a graft from farther up in my wrist so the blood could circulate back in there, Hamilton explained.
Just like that, his 2013 season was over. In fact, he would be held out of contact until the end of spring practice last April.
But it was not as if Hamilton was loafing during all of the down time -- former PSU strength coach Craig Fitzgerald saw to that. He had Hamilton working extensively on his lower body, including frequent trips to Beaver Stadium to run the steps. And exercises were devised so Hamilton could build his upper body without putting pressure on the left wrist.
As a result, he bulked up from 193 pounds to his current 204 (he stands 6-foot-1).
With record-setting wideout Allen Robinson making an early exit to the NFL and Brandon Felder having graduated, there is plenty of playing time available in Josh Gattis' receiving corps. Program insiders are pointing to Hamilton as a likely breakout player for the Lions in 2014.
When we caught up with Hamilton at PSU Media Day earlier this week, we asked how anxious he was for the arrival of the Aug. 30 season-opener against UCF in Dublin. He smiled.
I'm excited for today's practice, really, he said. I can't wait for it to start.
Check out the entire one-on-one interview above.