Penn State receiver DaeSean Hamilton expected heavy negative feedback after dropping a ball that likely would have been the team’s go-ahead touchdown in a comeback attempt against Pitt two weeks ago.
What he got instead surprised him.
“After I dropped the catch I was expecting to get chewed out on social media platforms, you know, that’s how people act these days,” he said via conference call on Wednesday morning. “Just seeing all of the support from all these people really made the situation a lot better. It made me feel a lot better to have all of Nittany Nation’s support behind me. It didn’t allow me to be too down on myself for too long an amount of time.”
Hamilton said that he received tweets, text messages, phone calls and words of support after the game from family members, head coach James Franklin and receivers coach Josh Gattis, teammates, Penn State fans, high school and other coaches, alumni and lettermen.
Part of that flood of backing from the community came as a response to the receiver’s decision to face dozens of media members after the game, knowing he would have to talk about the drop. Shortly after, the story of Hamilton’s highly emotional postgame appearance spread throughout the fan base.
“I mean, I’ve never been one to say ‘no,’” he said, of deciding to appear after the loss. “I’m not the type of person to just do things when I feel like I’m good with myself. Any type of circumstance that’s put in front of me, I know that I have a task at hand — (especially) if someone wants me to do something for them.
“Plus, I’ve always been open to media. I’ve never been the type of person to shy away from the media.”
Over the last week, coaches and teammates alike have expressed their faith in Hamilton, who is one of the top targets of quarterback Trace McSorley and has 12 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown through three games — accounting for one of four passing touchdowns from the quarterback this season.
“He bounced back great,” said McSorley on Tuesday morning via conference call. “He came in and worked hard all week, he had kind of a little added motivation after the Pitt game — we all did. He was able to forget about it, not dwell on it but know what happened so that it doesn’t happen again.
“… As far as my trust in him goes, I have complete trust in him. You drop a ball, you drop a ball. It is what it is. I’m still going to come back to him any day.”
Hamilton followed up his Pitt performance — after which his standout performance of eight catches for 82 yards was lost in the drop — with two catches for 50 yards (including a 45-yard long), and recovered an onside kick against Temple last week.
“DaeSean is a true leader. He’s a competitor,” Gattis said via conference call last Thursday. “He has probably the greatest work ethic on this team. He takes a lot of pride in how he performs and everything that he does. He’s a guy who has made tremendous plays for us, and I would never judge one man on one play. He’s got 137 catches in his career at Penn State (now 139), and I promise you half of those have been big.”