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What Penn State WR Does Theo Johnson see Surprising People in 2024?

Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Liam Clifford (82) November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

INDIANAPOLIS– There’s no sugarcoating it– Penn State meeds its receivers to be a lot better in 2024.

It feels like the WR group’s problems have been talked about since the days of George Washington. But for those who don’t know, Penn State’s leading receiver last season, KeAndre Lambert-Smith, had 673 yards and four touchdowns on 53 receptions.

Those are respectable numbers.

The problem was that Penn State’s next three-highest leading receivers were a pair of tight ends and a running back. Penn State’s second leading receiver from the WR group was Dante Cephas with 246 yards. He ended up transferring to Kansas State. Penn State fans didn’t seem to notice. So Penn State needs a lot of things to be different in 2024 from the receivers group. During the offseason’s first transfer portal window, Penn State needed to get a veteran receiver, and did that by landing Ohio State’s Julian Fleming.

PSU still could address that position in the spring portal window.

But regardless of who Penn State adds, the receivers coming back from last year’s team will need to step up, as well.

Now Penn State is currently 13 scholarship players above the NCAA limit, which means there have to be some departures.

Some of those departures could well come from the receivers room, but its unlikely that every receiver who took a snap in 2023 won’t be there for 2024.

Penn State tight end Theo Johnson won’t be at Penn State for 2024, but there’s a certain receiver he feels can breakout this coming season.

“Someone that I don’t think a lot of people talk about is Liam Clifford,” Johnson said Thursday at his NFL Combine presser.

Clifford became a starter for Penn State last season after spending his first two years with PSU as a reserve while older brother Sean was the starting quarterback. This season, the 6-foot-1, 203-pounder started games in the slot. Although he ended the year with just 13 catches for 130 yards and no scores, Johnson feels Clifford’s willingness to work will lead to that improving in 2024.

“He’s a guy that just goes about his business,” Johnson said. “Tireless worker, has an unmatched work ethic, has kind of gone under the radar, but I think just based on Coach K’s offense, he’s really going to thrive in that and he’s going to be able to really help our team next year a lot.”

The “Coach K” Johnson’s referring to isn’t Mike Krzyzewski, as hilarious as that would be. Nope, it’s Penn State’s new offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki.

Kotelnicki’s offense is all about excitement, chaos and getting the team’s best playmakers the ball. Could Clifford become one of those playmakers? We’ll know soon enough.

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