Entering final season, Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton aware of shot at program record, but not dwelling on it
Penn State cornerback Zech McPhearson tackles wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton during the annual Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on April 22, 2017.Joe Hermitt | email@example.com
DaeSean Hamilton seemed destined to go to Virginia Tech, which is why so many were surprised when he picked Penn State on an official visit back in December 2012.
The Lions of course had a lot going on back then, but commits were flocking in anyway to join head coach Bill O’Brien’s Class of 2013 anyway, and Hamilton wanted to be a part of it.
Five year later, he’s just 18 catches away from breaking the program mark of 179, set by Deon Butler in the mid-2000s, as he enters one final season with the blue and white.
“Yeah, it’s been on my radar since last season,” Hamilton said last week. “It’s not really anything that I expect to be something that will [complicate] my season; it’s all about the team.”
Hamilton has always been a team player, evidenced by his willingness to move inside to the slot to give coordinator Joe Moorhead’s offense a bigger presence to work against linebackers and bigger safeties.
He finished 2016 with just 34 catches, the fewest of his career, but he never sulked over it. Instead, he continued to do what he was asked to do, kept working in the weight room, and both have paid dividends entering this final year.
“Moving inside is obviously a key factor, and plus being able to block linebackers and bigger safeties, but I think it was part of [strength coach Dwight Galt’s] plan for me,” Hamilton said. “It was the course he saw for me to be able to perform well.”
“In the past year and a half, I’ve been able to lift more weight than I’ve ever been able to,” he continued. “A lot of my numbers have gone up the last year and a half, whereas a lot of guys do that in their first offseason. But in the last 18 months, I’ve gotten a lot stronger. It all goes to Deeg and his strength staff.”
A bulkier Hamilton figures to be a key part of position coach Josh Gattis’ rotation, which will again be deep yet is in need of figuring out who its go-to member or members will be with Chris Godwin moving on to the NFL.
Is Hamilton aiming to be that guy? Surely. But he also knows that a rotation will get many faces involved, and in the end, winning is all that matters.
“We got a great group of guy at wide receiver,” he said. “There’s not going to be just one person who steps up. There’s going to be a whole group of guys, and we have a whole lot of depth, too, and that’s what happens when you have a really good football team.
“There’s going to be a lot of guys contributing.”
Hamilton will be among them, contributing to the tram and probably the program record book, too.