Harvey Levine/FOS

INSTANT ANALYSIS: Impact Of Chris Godwin's Departure At Penn State

The man with the fourth most receiving yards in Nittany Lion history is headed to the NFL. What does it mean for Penn State and for Godwin himself.

Penn State junior WR Chris Godwin declared for the 2017 NFL Draft Thursday. Our instant analysis on what it means for the Nittany Lions and Godwin.

IMPACT FOR PSU

Harvey Levine/FOS

Godwin led Penn State with 59 catches for 982 yards and 11 scores in 2016. But even though the Lions played one more game, most of his numbers were actually down from 2015, when he had 69 catches for 1,101 yards and five TDs.

The good news is that was not because his game dropped off, but rather because the receiving corps as a whole was vastly improved. And unless anyone else leaves, it will be loaded again next season.

The most interesting name here is that of Saeed Blacknall (above), a fellow junior who the staff had pegged for a breakout season in 2016 — until he sustained a finger injury that caused him to miss four games and be limited in two others. Blacknall finally exploded in the Big Ten title game win over Wisconsin, with six catches for 155 yards and two scores. He finished the season with a YPC average of 23.1 yards. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1743228-instant-analysis-p...

Blacknall was suspended for the Rose Bowl for an unspecified violation of team rules but traveled with the team to Los Angeles and was on the sideline for the game. If he is healthy and trouble-free next season, he figures to be a primary target.

Also due back will be senior DaeSean Hamilton, the team’s leading receiver in 2014 and — you probably did not realize this — the fourth-leading receiver in school history with 161 catches. We’re not making any predictions here. But we will note that Hamilton has already graduated, and as such has the ability to be a post-grad transfer.

Speedy slot receivers DeAndre Thompkins (who stepped into the starting lineup when Blacknall was out last season and finished the year with 27 catches for 440 yards) and Brandon Polk (who missed most of 2016 with an injury after a productive rookie year in 2015) are also slated to return.

And then two current redshirt freshman — Irvin Charles and Juwan Johnson — figure to step up their games. They are both in the 6-foot-5, 220-pound range. Charles was said to have the most potential of any receiver in the program last season, and that included Godwin. We’ll see about that. He had only two catches in 2016, but one was the massive 80-yard game-changer vs. Minnesota.

The only receiver to redshirt as a true freshman last season was rangy Dae'lun Darien, who program sources have told us has the best hands on the team.

So unless several of the anticipated returnees leave, Penn State will not likely have to depend on any of the three commits currently in its class of 2017.

However, it is worth mentioning that another smaller speedster — K.J. Hamler — is enrolling early and will have every opportunity to push Thompkins and Polk, as well as vie for a spot as a return man.

GODWIN’S NFL PROSPECTS

Harvey Levine/FOS

Don’t believe the coaching panel that voted on the All-Big Ten awards, which did not even put Godwin on the third team last season. There is no way in hell there were six better receivers in the conference. In terms of NFL potential, there may only have been one — Ohio State burner Curtis Samuel.

Godwin proved it in the Rose Bowl by ripping apart a USC secondary that many considered to be among the best in the nation at the end of the season — a unit that includes multiple likely future NFL players.

When it came to All-Big Ten honors, Godwin was something of a victim (in a good way) of a new offense that was much better at spreading the ball around than the one in which he played earlier in this career. As such, his per-game numbers dropped in 2016 even as the offense exploded.

He has been hand-timed at a sub-4.45 seconds in the 40, which means he’ll likely run in the 4.5 to 4.55 range at the NFL Combine (to which he’ll surely be invited). That’s not blazing. But it is good for a receiver who checks in at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.

He is terrific in jump ball situations, has great hands and is a powerful runner after the catch. He is also tough. Earlier in his career, Godwin was on the PSU coverage teams.

If Godwin had elite speed, he’d be a late first- or early second-round pick in our view. But he does not have the wow factor speed.

So our best guess is he’ll go anywhere from late in the second round to early in the fourth. NFL sources say at least a couple of teams have tagged Godwin with a “starter” grade, meaning he has the ability to enter the league and be an immediate impact player.

SCHOLARSHIP NUMBERS

Counting all current Nittany Lions and all players committed for the Class of 2017, we now have PSU’s total scholarship number for 2017 at 85 — or right at the NCAA limit.

As of this writing, Godwin and DE Garrett Sickels were the only underclassman to declare for the draft. But that 85 number figures to drop due to what is considered “normal attrition.” Things such as:

• Other players declaring for the draft. S Marcus Allen is the most likely candidate.

• Players transferring. We won’t speculate because that would not be fair to Lions considering moving on. But PSU is once again in a position where there are talented players stuck behind VERY talented players. This invariably leads to transfers (think veteran RB Akeel Lynch leaving on good terms last year).

• Players giving up the sport for other reasons (graduating and wanting to move on, injuries, academic issues, legal issues, etc.). We’re not making any predictions, other than to say there are usually at least two or three of these types of things per year.

PSU currently has 18 commits for the Class of 2017. Barring the dreaded de-commit, we’re guessing that number ends up at 20 or 21 — meaning we’re GUESSING at least two or three more current scholarship guys move on for whatever reason.


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Penn State junior WR Chris Godwin declared for the 2017 NFL Draft Thursday. Our instant analysis on what it means for the Nittany Lions and Godwin.

IMPACT FOR PSU

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

Godwin led Penn State with 59 catches for 982 yards and 11 scores in 2016. But even though the Lions played one more game, most of his numbers were actually down from 2015, when he had 69 catches for 1,101 yards and five TDs.

The good news is that was not because his game dropped off, but rather because the receiving corps as a whole was vastly improved. And unless anyone else leaves, it will be loaded again next season.

The most interesting name here is that of Saeed Blacknall (above), a fellow junior who the staff had pegged for a breakout season in 2016 — until he sustained a finger injury that caused him to miss four games and be limited in two others. Blacknall finally exploded in the Big Ten title game win over Wisconsin, with six catches for 155 yards and two scores. He finished the season with a YPC average of 23.1 yards. http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1743228-instant-analysis-p...

Blacknall was suspended for the Rose Bowl for an unspecified violation of team rules but traveled with the team to Los Angeles and was on the sideline for the game. If he is healthy and trouble-free next season, he figures to be a primary target.

Also due back will be senior DaeSean Hamilton, the team’s leading receiver in 2014 and — you probably did not realize this — the fourth-leading receiver in school history with 161 catches. We’re not making any predictions here. But we will note that Hamilton has already graduated, and as such has the ability to be a post-grad transfer.

Speedy slot receivers DeAndre Thompkins (who stepped into the starting lineup when Blacknall was out last season and finished the year with 27 catches for 440 yards) and Brandon Polk (who missed most of 2016 with an injury after a productive rookie year in 2015) are also slated to return.

And then two current redshirt freshman — Irvin Charles and Juwan Johnson — figure to step up their games. They are both in the 6-foot-5, 220-pound range. Charles was said to have the most potential of any receiver in the program last season, and that included Godwin. We’ll see about that. He had only two catches in 2016, but one was the massive 80-yard game-changer vs. Minnesota.

The only receiver to redshirt as a true freshman last season was rangy Dae'lun Darien, who program sources have told us has the best hands on the team.

So unless several of the anticipated returnees leave, Penn State will not likely have to depend on any of the three commits currently in its class of 2017.

However, it is worth mentioning that another smaller speedster — K.J. Hamler — is enrolling early and will have every opportunity to push Thompkins and Polk, as well as vie for a spot as a return man.

GODWIN’S NFL PROSPECTS

\"\"Harvey Levine/FOS

Don’t believe the coaching panel that voted on the All-Big Ten awards, which did not even put Godwin on the third team last season. There is no way in hell there were six better receivers in the conference. In terms of NFL potential, there may only have been one — Ohio State burner Curtis Samuel.

Godwin proved it in the Rose Bowl by ripping apart a USC secondary that many considered to be among the best in the nation at the end of the season — a unit that includes multiple likely future NFL players.

When it came to All-Big Ten honors, Godwin was something of a victim (in a good way) of a new offense that was much better at spreading the ball around than the one in which he played earlier in this career. As such, his per-game numbers dropped in 2016 even as the offense exploded.

He has been hand-timed at a sub-4.45 seconds in the 40, which means he’ll likely run in the 4.5 to 4.55 range at the NFL Combine (to which he’ll surely be invited). That’s not blazing. But it is good for a receiver who checks in at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.

He is terrific in jump ball situations, has great hands and is a powerful runner after the catch. He is also tough. Earlier in his career, Godwin was on the PSU coverage teams.

If Godwin had elite speed, he’d be a late first- or early second-round pick in our view. But he does not have the wow factor speed.

So our best guess is he’ll go anywhere from late in the second round to early in the fourth. NFL sources say at least a couple of teams have tagged Godwin with a “starter” grade, meaning he has the ability to enter the league and be an immediate impact player.

SCHOLARSHIP NUMBERS

Counting all current Nittany Lions and all players committed for the Class of 2017, we now have PSU’s total scholarship number for 2017 at 85 — or right at the NCAA limit.

As of this writing, Godwin and DE Garrett Sickels were the only underclassman to declare for the draft. But that 85 number figures to drop due to what is considered “normal attrition.” Things such as:

• Other players declaring for the draft. S Marcus Allen is the most likely candidate.

• Players transferring. We won’t speculate because that would not be fair to Lions considering moving on. But PSU is once again in a position where there are talented players stuck behind VERY talented players. This invariably leads to transfers (think veteran RB Akeel Lynch leaving on good terms last year).

• Players giving up the sport for other reasons (graduating and wanting to move on, injuries, academic issues, legal issues, etc.). We’re not making any predictions, other than to say there are usually at least two or three of these types of things per year.

PSU currently has 18 commits for the Class of 2017. Barring the dreaded de-commit, we’re guessing that number ends up at 20 or 21 — meaning we’re GUESSING at least two or three more current scholarship guys move on for whatever reason.

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