Position Breakdown: WR

See how things are shaking out at the receiver spots during spring practice as we continue our position-by-position breakdown of the Nittany Lions.

WHO'S BACK: Brett Brackett (rs-junior), Patrick Mauti (rs-senior), James McDonald (rs-senior), Derek Moye (rs-soph), Chaz Powell (rs-soph), Graham Zug (rs-junior)

WHO'S GONE: Deon Butler*, Kevin Cousins, Jordan Norwood*, Derrick Williams*

NEW FACES: A.J. Price (rs-frosh), J.D. Mason (rs-frosh)

LOWDOWN: Penn State loses three of the top four pass-catchers in school history but is fielding bigger and more athletic receivers this spring. Brackett (6-foot-6) and Zug (6-2) were both complementary players a year ago but ought to be more integral parts of the offense in 2009. Neither has game-breaking speed, however both run solid routes and create mismatches with undersized defensive backs. Powell is a versatile athlete who ran a pair of sub 4.4-second 40s recently and should to be a more than adequate replacement for Williams. His primary focus in the spring is improving his hands. Moye is 6-6, 198 and was timed in the low 4.4s when he ran the 40 during the winter. A high school running back, he has adjusted nicely at wideout. He hopes to add 10 more pounds before the regular season arrives. Price, meanwhile, still seems a bit thin (6-4, 173) to see anything more than spot action. All in all, even before a host of reinforcements arrive this summer by way of the Class of 2009, this is a solid nucleus from which to work. That's not to say replacing the former stars will be easy. But it is not exactly impossible, either.

THE HEAT IS ON: Heading into his final season, McDonald has seven career catches. He'll have to make some serious headway in the spring to stay in the primary receiver mix. The good news: in the spring of 2008, he won the Worrell Award (most improved offensive player).

KEEP ON EYE ON: Moye has the tools to emerge as a game-breaking deep threat.

BY THE NUMBERS: Wide receivers on the 2009 spring roster combined for four of Penn State's 24 touchdown catches in 2008.

PREVIOUS REPORTS:

Quarterback Breakdown
Running Back Breakdown


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