The blow of Allen Robinson's departure to the NFL was softened when Penn State signed four wide receivers on national signing day. While the sheer numbers and talent level of the group is impressive, the harsh reality is that Penn State needs immediate help at the position.
It's time for the boys to become men—and quick.
One of these players is Chris Godwin, a 4-star prospect, according to 247Sports. With limited experience currently on the roster, Godwin will be expected to get up to speed quickly when he arrives on campus this summer.
Many believe that he could become a primary target for quarterback Christian Hackenberg from the start. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg predicts Godwin to be one of the five incoming freshman to make an impact this year in the Big Ten:
The good news is Penn State loaded up at receiver in the 2014 class, and Godwin should be in the mix for major playing time right away. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound Godwin has a physical style that should help him transition to the college game.
Similarly, Josh Helmholdt of Rivals listed Godwin as an instant-impact player for the Nittany Lions.
So what should Penn State fans expect from him as a true freshman in 2014?
For starters, he'll be given a legitimate opportunity to contribute.
Of the 3,110 receiving yards accumulated by Penn State in 2013, only 398 were credited to wide receivers who are still on the roster. Basically, the numbers indicate that Godwin will have his chance as a true freshman because the cupboard is so bare at the position.
The Delaware native could also be a factor in the return game. His sub-4.5 40-yard dash time and solid ability to change direction make him an ideal candidate to return kicks. Penn State hasn't had an electric return game in quite some time. Godwin—along with fellow freshman De'Andre Thompkins—could help fix that.
Who knows how coach James Franklin views him in this sense, but it should be noted that the old staff expected him to compete for time on special teams from the beginning, as per Audrey Snyder of PennLive.com.
There will certainly be growing pains along the way for the freshman, but it helps that he has a quarterback like Hackenberg throwing to him. He may have to learn a new offense, but Hackenberg still possesses both the mental and physical tools to play the position. This combination only helps in making a receiver's job easier.
Alongside Geno Lewis, I expect Godwin to have a productive first year in Happy Valley. He might be part of a receiver rotation early in the year, but he should eventually emerge as a starter while continually improving his chemistry with Hackenberg.
Penn State's entire crop of incoming freshmen wideouts is impressive, and Godwin shouldn't be absorbing the spotlight by himself. Thompkins, Saeed Blacknall and Troy Apke all have differing skill sets that will give Hackenberg plenty of options for years to come.
Who knows: In three seasons, Penn State could have the best bunch of wide receivers in the country. But for now, Godwin is the one player who could get things rolling early.
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