We're counting down our rankings of the Top 25 players in the Big Ten for the 2013 season. This list is based on past performance and potential for the upcoming season only. We do not consider NFL potential for purposes of these rankings.
Our next selection wears jersey No. 8 and comes in at the same spot in the rundown ...
No. 8: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State, junior, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds
2012 postseason ranking: No. 11
2012 numbers: Recorded a team-record 77 receptions for 1,013 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns
Why he's here: The Big Ten is hardly a league of star wide receivers, but Robinson proved to be the lone exception during a breakout sophomore season in 2012. He played a major role in Penn State's offensive renaissance under new coach Bill O'Brien, forming the league's most consistent and dynamic passing connection with quarterback Matt McGloin. Robinson was the obvious choice for the Big Ten's Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year award after easily surpassing Bobby Engram's team record of 63 receptions. He led the league in receptions, receptions per game (6.4), receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Robinson set the tone in the 2012 opener against Ohio with nine receptions for 97 yards. He recorded four games of nine or more receptions, 10 games of five or more receptions, seven games of more than 80 receiving yards, and two games with three touchdown catches (Navy, Indiana). Robinson finished 33rd nationally in receiving, but had 150 more receiving yards than the Big Ten's No. 2 wideout (Nebraska's Kenny Bell, No. 17 on our list). He's not simply a possession receiver as he can stretch the field and make big plays in the red zone.
After a sophomore season that Robinson downplays as merely "decent," the Lions junior hopes to take his game even further this fall. He emerged as a leader this summer in organizing lifting sessions and on-field workouts. Robinson will be a primary asset for Penn State's unproven quarterback (Tyler Ferguson or Christian Hackenberg) as the Lions' offense tries to continue its momentum from 2012.