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Penn State football transfer wide receiver gearing up for a breakout season

New Penn State football wide receiver Malik McClain could be in store for a massive season this fall.



Penn State wide receiver Malik McClain
Nov 21, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions players meet with quarterback Will Levis (7) prior to the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Penn State Nittany Lions have one of the youngest offenses in the sport, though it is also incredibly talented, and has high expectations for the 2023 college football season, which is set to kick off for PSU on September 2nd against West Virginia. When talking about returning wide receivers ahead of the 2023 season, new Penn State football wide receiver Malik McClain is going to need to step up and become a difference-maker in year one in State College.

Penn State football wide receiver gearing up for breakout season

The Nittany Lions are losing their top-3 pass-catchers from the 2022 squad: Parker Washington, Brenton Strange, and Mitchell Tinsley. In turn, the Nittany Lions hit the transfer portal in order to make up for this loss, adding former Florida State wide receiver Malik McClain to the roster via the transfer portal over the winter. Dante Cephus, another new wideout addition, is now ranked among the top 10 returning wide receivers by PFF heading into the new season; while McClain is not garnering as much hype, his presence will be just as important.

Malik McClain is a former 247 Sports 4-star prospect who committed to FSU in December of 2020. McClain was part of the Seminoles’ 2020 freshman class and was rated the No. 283 player in the nation, No. 42 wideout, and No. 40 player in Florida. Now, McClain is headed to State College, PA, to be a member of James Franklin’s dangerous roster in 2023.

Although McClain was a starter for Florida State in 2021 and 2022, his stats are not all that impressive. In 2021, he caught 16 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns; a year later, McClain caught 17 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns.

While these numbers are not eye-catching, he was still an impactful member of the Florida State offense and brings a lot of potential to Penn State this fall. McClain’s best attribute appears to be his 6-foot-4, 201 lbs frame — a large target for rising sophomore Drew Allar, who will be taking over as the Nittany Lions’ quarterback this fall.

Young wide receivers corps must build chemistry

Following the Penn State football spring game, head coach James Franklin had a straightforward message about his offseason outlook regarding the offense: Penn State cannot get enough practice throwing the ball. The Nittany Lions have a young quarterback and an inexperienced wide receiver corps, so the best thing they can do right now is get as many reps on the field as possible to build chemistry and timing.

“We can’t throw enough,” James Franklin said. “Our quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, we cannot throw enough all summer … I think having Holuba open all summer to throw is going to be valuable for us.

“That’s what I was talking about earlier when I said ‘we can’t throw enough.’ We need more wideouts to compete at a high level … we need six guys that we feel like we can win the Big Ten with,” Franklin said. “[We] just can’t throw enough to build that consistency and that chemistry — in a lot of ways like Sean [Clifford] and Jahan [Dotson] had a couple of years ago. They gotta build that chemistry, but they gotta build it with multiple guys. Between our tight ends and our receivers, we can be pretty effective.”

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