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Giger: Dotson deserves more respect than he gets

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Jahan Dotson

Jahan Dotson lit up Shaun Wade, one of the best cornerbacks in the country and a first-team All-American, when Penn State played Ohio State. This is not an opinion. It’s the cold, hard stats.

Dotson is in the news tonight because he announced he will return for his senior season instead of trying his luck in the NFL draft. This is huge news for the Nittany Lions because Dotson not only was fantastic on the field this season, he emerged as one of the best leaders and spokesmen on the team.

Check out Dotson’s game log from ESPN below. Against the Buckeyes, it reads eight catches, 144 yards, three TDs. And he was covered by Wade the entire game.

Dotson also was covered by Wade on these two back-to-back plays against Ohio State. And you can see what happened on these absolutely sick catches.

Look, I’m not here to question how good Wade is.

I’m here to question how the receiver who made those two great catches was deemed no better than a third-team all-conference selection in the Big Ten.

Dotson had a terrific season, but he did not receive the kind of accolades worthy of someone who made those highlight-reel plays above. But those weren’t his only impressive highlights.

He had this 81-yard punt return for a TD against Michigan State, which helped earn him all-Big Ten honorable mention honors on special teams.

And in the finale against Illinois, Dotson was sensational. He caught a pass on the first play of the game and took it 75 yards to the house. He then later had a 70-yard TD grab, becoming the first PSU player ever with two catches of at least 70 yards in the same game.

Dotson may not have put up extraordinary numbers receiving, finishing with 52 catches for 884 yards and eight touchdowns. But if you watched him play and watched the way he impacted the game when he got a chance, it was clear that he is a very impressive talent.

One of the biggest question marks entering the season for PSU was who would become the No. 1 receiver after KJ Hamler left for the NFL. Dotson answered that question immediately in the first two games, particularly against Wade and Ohio State in week two.

Having Dotson back next season is a huge plus for Penn State’s offense and quarterback Sean Clifford. Dotson surely will enter the season with a lot more hype than he had at the start of this year, and oftentimes that name recognition is a big part of picking up individual awards.

Oh yeah, Dotson wasn’t just great on the field. When things weren’t going well for PSU during its 0-5 start, it was Dotson — a soft-spoken guy who didn’t say much — who delivered one of the most candid interviews we’ve ever heard from a Lion player.

Dotson is a leader, plain and simple, and an excellent football player. Having him back next year will be huge for this team.

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Written By

Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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