Former Penn State football receiver DaeSean Hamilton named to AP All-Bowl team after two touchdown performance in the Fiesta Bowl By Jack Hish Daily Collegian January 8, 2018
Senior wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton closed his Penn State career with a bang, hauling in five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the Nittany Lions 35-28 win over Washington in the Fiesta Bowl. With all college football games — aside from the National Championship — now complete, Hamilton was honored for the performance on Monday with a spot on the AP All-Bowl team. Hamilton's final season was terrific for the Penn State as he led the team in receiving yards with 857 yards and was tied with Mike Gesicki for the team-high in touchdown receptions with 9.
DaeSean Hamilton opens up about raising autistic older brother By Jordan James 247 Sports December 29, 2017
Penn State senior wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton will play his last game for the program in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Saturday against Washington. He has matured during his four seasons with the Nittany Lions, however, he was forced to grow up long before he arrived on campus in 2013. Hamilton, a former 247Sports three-star recruit from Stafford, Va., grew up with an older brother, Darius Hamilton, who has autism. Darius uses non-verbal communication, and he needs assistance for daily activities, such as brushing his teeth, eating and getting dressed. DaeSean recently spoke in detail about his relationship with his brother, who he has been helping his parents, Madgeline and Johnie Hamilton, take care of since he was six years old. DaeSean's help became even more valuable when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Via Bleacher Report: Or the time when DaeSean was 10, and his mother told him she had breast cancer and DaeSean and Darius grew even closer out of necessity. Madgeline was going through treatment, her husband was working and bills had to be paid. So DaeSean woke every morning, got Darius showered and fed and ready for school, and took him to the bus stop. Madgeline gave DaeSean a key to the back door so he could pick up Darius from school, bring him home and care for him in case she either wasn't there because of a doctor's appointment or was recovering from a chemotherapy treatment. Day after day, year after year. Through Madgeline's cancer and remission, through Johnie stationed in Japan for a year by himself, through growing as a football player from Pop Warner to high school, DaeSean made it work with Darius. DaeSean also did his part to include Darius in his childhood friend groups, and his friends also became Darius' companions. The group eventually used academic openings in their schedules to help out in Darius' special needs class. "We never really thought anything of it," Billy Bolinsky, one of DaeSean's friends, said. "He was our friend, and he was also DaeSean's brother. I've known Darius since the third grade; he has always been special to me. It was a no-brainer." When former Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien recruited DaeSean, he wasn't viewed as the star of the 2013 class. But earlier this season, the senior broke the Penn State record for career receptions. DaeSean will have a chance to add to his current total (209) in the Fiesta Bowl, and then he will attempt to provide an NFL team with the same intangibles he brought to Penn State in four seasons. But wherever he goes, Darius will be with him. "Darius never has to worry about me letting go," DaeSean told Bleacher Report. "He's my brother. I love him. I have always believed this, and it's something my parents have said over and over: God will never give you something you can't handle."
Fiesta Bowl: Penn State's DaeSean Hamilton finds motivation in brother By Paul Rodriguez The Philadelphia Inquire December 28, 2017
DaeSean Hamilton’s brother may not be able to spot him on the field or fully understand what’s happening in the game, but the wide receiver hopes his brother knows that he’s playing for him. Darius Kendall Hamilton, 24, has nonverbal autism, which was diagnosed at a young age. Although he can’t necessarily follow the game, he will be supporting Hamilton in the stands Saturday at the Fiesta Bowl against Washington. While Darius doesn’t know the ins and outs of football, he knows something good has happened when the stadium gets loud, Hamilton said. Their parents, who have been military veterans for more than 20 years, help Darius locate his brother by pointing to him on the field. “That’s really how he’s able to understand exactly what’s going on,” Hamilton said Thursday. For the native of Fredericksburg, Va., his brother is his motivation. “A lot of things I’m doing in football is for him,” Hamilton said. “It’s humbled me and allowed me to not really take anything for granted because a lot of things I’m doing he’s not able to do, and I know he probably would die to be in the position that I’m in.” Darius and his parents, who live together, flew into Arizona on Wednesday night with the eldest of the siblings, their 35-year old sister. When the siblings were growing up, Hamilton and his sister were like additional parents to his brother. “That’s really all I knew at a young age, and it made me mature,” Hamilton said. “It also humbled me at a young age as well, not to really take anything for granted.” By the time the senior looks up in the stands to find his family Saturday, it will probably have hit him that it’s his last time playing with the ninth-ranked Nittany Lions. “It’s going to hit me Saturday,” Hamilton said. “I know that for a fact. I’ve just been trying to enjoy this week with the team, talking to as many guys as I can before I head out of here. It hasn’t hit me yet, but I just know the days are winding down.” This week, he and the upperclassmen have been looking back on the various bowl games they’ve been to over the years, and even the time when they didn’t know if they’d ever play in a bowl game at Penn State. “We’ve just been reminiscing, so to speak, of all the different places we’ve been, all the different experiences we’ve had, and all the fun we’ve had together,” Hamilton said. The team dynamic has changed. When Hamilton was a freshmen, there was a noticeable division among the underclassmen and upperclassmen, the now-seniors often recall. The older guys at the time were recruited by Joe Paterno and Bill O’Brien. Now, with every player having been recruited by James Franklin, the team feels united. Juwan Johnson, who will play a crucial role in Penn State’s receiving corps next season, values the time Hamilton spent this season tossing the ball around after practice with tight end Mike Gesicki and him. “DaeSean’s always been a role model to me,” Johnson, a redshirt sophomore, said. “He’s been there for me, catching after practice … being a role model for us, to have hard work and always be consistent, to never waver your attitude, to have a positive attitude going into practice, after practice, during games.” Hamilton said he wants to end this season differently than the last two — with a win. “I’m putting my all into it,” Hamilton said, “and doing everything I can to make [Darius] proud and my family proud.”
Penn State’s DaeSean Hamilton wins co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week By Ryan Connors Land of 10: Penn State October 2, 2017
Hamilton had 9 catches for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns in Penn State’s 45-14 win over the Hoosiers, giving him 181 receptions in his career, 2 more than previous record-holder Deon Butler. “It’s really special,” Hamilton said after the game. “I’m really happy to have this record. I’ll cherish it. Then, it’s going to be like every game. You cherish the wins, you enjoy the wins, but then you get back to work.” “I’m so proud of that guy. I’m so happy for that guy,” Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley said. “I know that wasn’t something he was focused on, but for him to obtain that record is amazing. … You guys aren’t seeing how hard he’s worked going through ups and downs.” Hamilton is now 710 receiving yards off the Penn State career receiving yards record of 3,026, held by 1994 Biletnikoff Award winner Bobby Engram.
DaeSean Hamilton sets Penn State career receptions record By Joe Juliano The Philadelphia Inquirer September 30, 2017
After DaeSean Hamilton scored a touchdown on the reception that enabled him to tie the Penn State record for most career catches, he saw the penalty flag on the ground and the officials convening for a conference. “I was sweating bullets. I was hoping and praying they wouldn’t call it back,” Hamilton said Saturday of the 24-yard pass from Trace McSorley in the third quarter that featured jostling between him and Indiana defender Jonathan Crawford before the catch. But the officials picked up the flag and Hamilton had catch No. 179, tying Deon Butler’s school record. The redshirt senior would have two more catches in the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions’ 45-14 win to finish with 181 for his career, and a personal-best three touchdowns on the day. “I wasn’t keeping track or anything,” said Hamilton, who finished with nine receptions for 122 yards. “I was just trying to make plays. The ball was coming my way. I didn’t know if I was going to get [the record] today or later on this year, so I wasn’t worried about it.” Coach James Franklin said he made “a really big deal” out of the record after the game in the locker room. “He has had a great career, has been a great leader, a great teammate, and a great student,” Franklin said. “They’ve been playing football at Penn State for a long time. There has been a bunch of really good players, so whenever you can say you’re the all-time leader at Penn State, that’s pretty special.” Franklin not satisfied Franklin will take the win, but he admitted some areas need improvement. One problem was the NIttany Lions’ field goal kicking. Tyler Davis went 1 for 3, making a 45-yarder but missing from 21 and having a 42-yard attempt blocked. Davis, who had missed just two of 32 field goal attempts the previous two years, is 5 for 11 this season. “We need to get the field goal situation cleaned up,” Franklin said. “That is unacceptable and I’m not pleased with it at all. “I don’t want this to come off the wrong way – we are going to enjoy winning around here, but there are still some things we have to be honest with ourselves about and get cleaned up.” One example was the run game, as Penn State gained just 39 yards. That number was influenced by sacks; the Hoosiers got to Trace McSorley five times for 34 yards in losses.Passing thought Saquon Barkley didn’t exactly dazzle his teammates with his passing ability during the week of practice when offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead installed a pass play for him to throw to Hamilton. “It just didn’t go well,” Barkley said. “How do I explain it? Let’s say the ball kind of got caught in my hand and hit the ground before it hit Ham. That’s the best way I can describe that play.” But the play worked to perfection on Saturday. Barkley took a pitch to the right from McSorley and tucked the ball under his arm before passing it to Hamilton, who went the final eight yards of a 16-yard TD play. “I’ve got to thank JoeMo for trusting me,” Barkley said of Moorhead. “All of our signalers were kind of laughing on the sideline [before the play]. Trace was just like, ‘You got it, you got it. Let it go.’” Gesicki injured Tight end Mike Gesicki, the team’s second-leading receiver behind Barkley, left the game after taking a hard hit in the second quarter and did not return. The team does not comment on injuries, but the Penn State training staff appeared to be working on Gesicki’s upper body. The big senior caught three passes for 19 yards on the day.
Now Penn State football’s No. 1 receiver, DaeSean Hamilton looks to bounce back and make history By Jack Hish Daily Collegian September 1, 2017
While DaeSean Hamilton is on the verge of Penn State history, it hasn’t always been easy for him. Despite his struggles last year, the senior wide receiver is just 18 catches away from becoming Penn State’s all-time leader in catches. Should Hamilton keep up his career average of just over four receptions per game, he’d pick up the mark by the end of September, against Indiana. The record, however, isn’t a top priority for him. “Really it’s just a testament to what, not even myself, but all the other fifth-year seniors and even fourth-year seniors have had to go through for us to even get to the success and to the individual success that all of us have been able to achieve,” he said. While Hamilton will likely break the record held by former wide receiver Deon Butler, barring injury, “success” isn’t exactly the term to use to describe his two most recent campaigns. Hamilton’s yardage and reception totals have regressed in both years since his standout freshman season, when he led the Big Ten in catches and racked up 899 yards. He had career lows in all the major receiving categories last year, though some of that can be attributed to the emergence of Chris Godwin and tight end Mike Gesicki. “You’re talking about a guy that’s seen the highs, seen the lows and matured and grown through all those things,” head coach James Franklin said of Hamilton. Perhaps Hamilton’s lowest point was a key drop toward the end of the Nittany Lions’ early season matchup with Pitt last year. With just under three minutes to go, and Penn State trailing by three, Hamilton was wide open on a go route and let a perfect pass from quarterback Trace McSorley go right through his hands. Hamilton dwelled on the miscue for much of the season. “I let the Pitt drop stick in my mind a little bit too long,” he said. “Once I was able to get past that, things started clicking near the end of the season, then the Big Ten Championship game came, and really that’s when I learned that’s basically how anybody’s college football career, or any football player’s career, is going to be.” Hamilton’s targets have decreased from 135 his freshman year to 86 in 2015 and down to 64 last season, according to 247Sports, but his yards per catch averages have been trending the other way. After putting up just 11 yards per catch as a freshman, Hamilton bumped that up to a career-high 14.9 yards per reception in 2016. Now with Godwin off to the NFL, Hamilton figures to be first in line for targets from McSorley, and he is undoubtedly the leader of a deep receiving corps. “We all know what it takes to be a receiver like [Godwin] and just keep working,” receiver Saeed Blacknall said. “And for us to go in and fill the void like losing Chris wouldn’t be anything wrong because it would just be next guy in and go on and do the same thing he did.” Blacknall, Juwan Johnson, DeAndre Thompkins, Irvin Charles, Brandon Polk, running back Saquon Barkley and Gesicki all will have to share receptions. With all those names competing for playing time and targets, it’s easy to forget that Hamilton is by far the Nittany Lions’ most accomplished wide out. But he doesn’t mind people sleeping on him. “I don’t really care,” Hamilton said. “If they say that, then that’s fine. The offense is full of weapons… it’s not really about who gets the ball more or who is supposed to be No. 1 and things like that. I just go out and do my role every single game.” Penn State’s receiver’s coach Josh Gattis said Hamilton’s drive to make the team better is reflected in how hard the rest of the receivers work. “He just continues getting better,” Gattis said. “He’s a guy that’s dedicated to his craft. He wants to get better. It’s really neat to watch a guy that’s played a lot of football, a guy that’s been multiple All-Big Ten receiver, continue to want to get better.” Gattis added: “It’s pretty neat when you got a guy like DaeSean Hamilton, who’s a fifth-year senior, who wants to see the other guys succeed as well.” His improvement may have culminated this summer as Franklin said Hamilton has had the best summer of his Penn State career. Franklin expects big things this year from his former All-Big Ten receiver. “His routes right now are unbelievable in terms of his footwork and his body control and his ability to create separation,” Franklin said. “It would not surprise me one bit if DaeSean doesn’t have a huge year for us, which I’d love to see that for him and for us.”
Penn State football’s DaeSean Hamilton poised for a big year, while third-string QB battle continues By Andrew Rubin The Collegian August 9, 2017
DaeSean Hamilton is the most accomplished player in wide receiver coach Josh Gattis’ room. He is a player that lit up the Big Ten as a redshirt freshman in 2014 with 82 receptions — Penn State’s second highest single-season tally — and is only 18 receptions away from Deon Butler’s program record of 179. However, Hamilton has seen his tally drop each season in Happy Valley. After posting that spectacular 82-reception campaign, he caught 45 passes in 2015 and then just 34 in a difficult redshirt junior season for the Fredericksburg, Virginia native. With his production having dropped in consecutive seasons, Hamilton has been overshadowed heading into his final season for the Nittany Lions. However, coach James Franklin and others showered him with praise on Wednesday night after practice, talking about the receiver’s ability to shed coverage and run routes. “I think Hamilton is having as good of a camp, with all of those things, that I’ve seen before,” Franklin said on Wednesday. “There are bigger guys. There are stronger guys. There are faster guys. But he is as polished and as productive of a wide out as I’ve been around in a camp setting, I think he’s going to have a huge year for us.” Tight end Mike Gesicki — who had his breakout year for the Nittany Lions in 2016 after a difficult first two seasons — talked about Hamilton’s style of leading by example. “Ham is a very good leader," Gesicki said. “But in terms of vocal, he is only going to speak when he has to.” Last October, Hamilton spoke during halftime as Penn State was only down five in a game that turned into a program changing win. “I remember he spoke at halftime of the Ohio State game and that was the first time anyone had heard Ham speak, during, before or in terms of leading for a game," Gesicki said. “He normally keeps to himself and leads by his actions. But at halftime of that game he saw the direction it was going and the potential that we had in that second-half.” As Hamilton is one of the Nittany Lions’ receivers that seems poised for a big season, a true freshman quarterback is pushing to move his way up the depth chart in his first days on campus. All throughout spring practices, Franklin talked about how he didn’t feel like he had a good third option at quarterback, that no one had come and seized the job behind starter Trace McSorley and backup Tommy Stevens. Jake Zembiec was the most obvious option on campus, but Franklin and his staff felt like he hadn’t done enough to really seize it. Now, Zembiec has some competition. Class of 2017 signee, and former four-star quarterback recruit Sean Clifford, is on campus and competing for the job with Zembiec. It is also important to remember that the Nittany Lions’ staff is going to do what they can to make sure that Clifford redshirts, even if he ends up wining the third string job. He can still travel to away games and be the third option to go in, but provided Penn State has one of its first two quarterbacks available he won’t see the field in 2017 and will keep his redshirt. “That is one we are still trying to figure out,” Franklin said. “Zembiec has obviously been here longer. He is more seasoned. He is more experienced and he’s got a good feel. But Clifford is battling. Clifford is really attacked this thing all summer.” Franklin expanded more on how Clifford’s first days in the blue and white have gone, after fans have been anticipating his arrival since he was the first commit in the Class of 2017. “He learns well. The game comes pretty easy to him,” Franklin said. “It is a legitimate battle.”