Eugene Lewis will suit up for Penn State for the first time today. Whether he gets on the field or not remains to be seen.
The freshman wide receiver from Wyoming Valley West and Meyers had a strong preseason camp for the Nittany Lions, but the coaching staff is debating a redshirt for him, according to his father.
‚??They said it could be a possibility,‚?Ě said Eugene Lewis Sr., who spoke to Lions receivers coach Stan Hixon about the situation this week. ‚??So yeah, it could be. We‚??re just playing it by ear right now. It‚??s something under consideration.
‚??They‚??re really high on Gene. They just felt that he still ‚?? with some time to develop more, with some time to understand the system ‚?? he could be greater than he is.‚?Ě
With the Lions replacing all three starting receivers this season, Lewis made enough of an impact to be listed on Penn State‚??s two-deep depth chart at the end of preseason camp, competing with Matt Zanellato to be the top backup to Allen Robinson at split end.
If Lewis were to redshirt, he would have a year of eligibility remaining when the NCAA‚??s postseason ban on Penn State is lifted for the 2016 season.
ESPN‚??s Ivan Maisel was permitted to sit in on a Penn State coaches‚?? meeting this week in which the entire staff discussed redshirts.
According to Maisel, coach Bill O‚??Brien discussed the future of the rookie wideouts in the meeting.
‚??Trevor Williams is going to play,‚?Ě O‚??Brien said. ‚??I told Malik Golden we‚??re going to redshirt him. We‚??re trying to redshirt Geno Lewis.‚?Ě
There is no formal process used to redshirt players. Even if the decision is made to redshirt Lewis to start the year, there is nothing that would prevent the Lions from using him in a game at any time, particularly in the case of an injury to Robinson or another starter.
Lewis Sr. said he spoke to his son about a scenario in which he may not play this season, using his own history as a college basketball player as a frame of reference.
‚??He‚??s going to be discouraged for a minute and probably feeling down, but he understands that it could be the best thing to ever happen to him,‚?Ě Lewis Sr. said. ‚??When I left Pitt my freshman year and transferred to South Alabama, I had to (sit out a year). I told him how much I had grown in that one year, just paying attention to everything. And I ended up being drafted by the Utah Jazz.
‚??I told him (redshirting) is far better than you can imagine.‚?Ě
Despite the initial turmoil that hit the program when the NCAA sanctions came down in July, Lewis Sr. said his son has enjoyed his first summer at Penn State.
‚??He‚??s loving the college atmosphere and he loves State College,‚?Ě Lewis Sr. said. ‚??He loves the coaching staff, and he‚??s going to do whatever they need him to do.‚?Ě