The common feeling amongst Penn State fans is that wide receiver is the biggest position of need during this transfer portal cycle.
That’s because, during the 2023 season, the WR room was likely Penn State’s least productive position group.
Aside from KeAndre Lambert-Smith (53 catches, 673 yards, four TD), no Penn State WR had more than 246 yards. But Penn State’s had quality options at receiver throughout the James Franklin era. Players such as Chris Godwin, Jahan Dotson and KJ Hamler all became high-round NFL draft picks.
There are a lot of receivers in the transfer portal. Thanks to our sister outlet, The Portal Report, there’s a new system to illustrate how productive these receivers have been.
“In order to identify top performers,” TPR wrote, “the TPR staff utilize the fantasy football scoring detailed below. This provides us with a baseline to compare players, regardless of position. The scoring has been optimized to approximate similar average fantasy points at each position. The TPR staff then analyze each individual player based on intangible characteristics of their game performance each week.
Here’s the scoring system for receivers.
Receiving Yards = 0.10 fpts
Receiving TD = 6.0 fpts
Receptions = 0.5 fpts
Now, here are the top seven receivers in the transfer portal by this metric that Penn State could go after.
**Note: We understand that there are many ways to measure production. This is just one of them.
PENN STATE TRANSFER PORTAL: TRAYVON RUDOLPH, NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Rudolph entered the portal after four seasons at Northern Illinois. He had a promising start to his career, being named a freshman All-American mainly for his work at kick returner in 2020. The next season, he progressed as a receiver, picking up 892 yards and seven touchdowns on 51 receptions.
He came into 2022 with high hopes, being named on the preseason Biletnikoff Award watchlist for nation’s top receiver. But an injury ended his 2022 season before it started, and Rudolph didn’t recapture his 2021 form this past season. He caught just five fewer passes than he did in ‘21, but picked up almost 400 fewer yards and five fewer touchdowns.
Still, the 5-foot-10, 187-pounder has experience and has shown that he can ball out. Penn State’s offense lacked explosiveness overall in 2023, and Rudolph has plenty of it.
Rudolph told NSN via DM that he hasn’t heard from Penn State yet.
2023 Mixtape (Max Speed 23.01) pic.twitter.com/U2KlsNUrou
— Trayvon Rudolph (@RudolphTrayvon) December 6, 2023
PENN STATE TRANSFER PORTAL: JARED BROWN, COASTAL CAROLINA
Brown was the Sun Belt’s Freshman of the Year in 2022. He ended that season with 789 yards and six touchdowns on 49 catches. His numbers regressed slightly this past season, catching nine more passes but for 49 fewer yards and two fewer touchdowns.
But it must be said that Brown wasn’t helped by Coastal’s quarterback, Grayson McCall, missing more than half the season with an injury. Brown would be in good hands with Drew Allar throwing him the ball as opposed to a backup, with all due respect.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder has also shown that he can be dangerous in the running game, picking up 252 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries (16.8 YPC) in 2022.
PENN STATE TRANSFER PORTAL: MYLES PRICE, TEXAS TECH
Price is the first player from a Power Five school on this list. He entered the transfer portal after four seasons at Texas Tech, maintaining steady production throughout his four seasons and ending with 1,751 yards and 10 touchdowns on 161 receptions. His numbers don’t pop off the screen, but Price is a veteran who played in some big-time games. It’s also worth noting that Penn State’s new OC, Andy Kotelnicki, coached against Price at Kansas.
JOSH KELLY, WASHINGTON STATE
Kelly, who has a Penn State offer, finished this past season with 923 yards and eight touchdowns on 61 catches.
It’s impossible to say exactly what Kelly would have done against Big Ten defenses. But hypothetically speaking, if Kelly put up the same numbers for Penn State this season as he did for Washington State, he’d have been Penn State’s No. 1 receiver. Before Washington State, Kelly played at Fresno State for four seasons.
His best statistical year at Fresno came in 2021 when he finished with 778 yards and three touchdowns on 52 receptions.
A Fresno native, Kelly played high school football at San Joaquin Memorial, where he was a three-star according to 247Sports.
247 has Kelly as a four-star transfer option and lists him as the No. 30 overall player and No. 9 receiver.
DYMERE MILLER, MONMOUTH
Miller spent four seasons at Monmouth and has progressively improved in each year. This past season was his best. Miller ended with 1,295 yards and nine touchdowns on 90 catches, albeit playing in the CAA, which is a little different from the Big Ten. Nonetheless, the Coatesville, Pennsylvania (less than three hours from State College) native is worth looking into because of his production.
WILL SHEPPARD, VANDERBILT
This is the most productive Power Five receiver in the portal according to TPR’s fantasy points. Shepard entered the portal after four seasons at Vanderbilt, and despite playing on some awful teams, put up some solid numbers in the SEC. His best statistical season came in 2022, when he ended with 776 yards and nine touchdowns on 60 catches.
He again played well this past season, ending with 47 catches for 684 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-foot-3, 198-pounder would give Penn State some needed height, in addition to his production.
CAULLIN LACY, SOUTH ALABAMA
Here’s No. 1. Lacy spent four seasons at South Alabama, and this past year was his best. He ended it with 1,316 yards and seven touchdowns on 91 receptions. Those numbers speak for themselves, and it’d be interesting to see how they’d play in the Big Ten if Penn State got him out of the transfer portal.