Penn State Football

‘A magnificent player’: What opposing DBs said about Penn State WR KJ Hamler

Penn State wideout KJ Hamler is the Nittany Lions’ most electrifying offensive player, a redshirt sophomore known as “The Human Joystick” who boasts game-breaking ability.

He’s been praised plenty by his Nittany Lions teammates. But, at Big Ten media days in Chicago, we decided to see what Hamler’s opponents had to say about the young receiver.

We spoke with each of the six defensive backs — well, five DBs and a linebacker/safety hybrid — who were on-hand for media days and went against Hamler last season. Here’s what they had to say about the Penn State playmaker:

Illinois DB Nate Hobbs

Hamler 2018 stat line: 2 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD; 1 KR, 12 yards; 1 PR, 17 yards

“He’s a great player. I only got a chance to go at him a couple times in the slot but, when I did, he was super good and he has good routes. He’s good with his body control. He’s short, but he knows how to use his stature and quickness along with his speed. I watched his highlights and his film — because we played them, so I wanted to watch film on him — and he was a really good player. And he was a freshman last year, so he’s still got a max of three years so he’s just going to get better.

“In terms of slots, I think he’s a top-tier slot. Him and (Purdue’s) Rondale Moore are the best two slots in the Big Ten.”

Maryland DB Antoine Brooks Jr.

Hamler 2018 stat line: 3 catches, 90 yards

“He’s real competitive, real good. He’s got some wiggle with him, that’s what I say. He’s real good with wiggling — wiggling his way out of things. He was real good doing that but, mid-game, I tried to switch to a player because ... I had some ‘hurt’ issues and all that. But he was a good player; he played a good game that game.”

Ohio State DB Jordan Fuller

Hamler 2018 stat line: 4 catches, 138 yards, 1 TD; 3 KR, 47 yards; 1 PR, 10 yards

“He’s a really talented player. Quick, fast — when has the ball in his hands, he’s really talented. He’s a great route runner as well, so he’s a playmaker. He’s definitely someone you need to know where he’s at at all times.”

Michigan VIPER (LB/S hybrid) Khaleke Hudson

Hamler 2018 stat line: 1 catch, 20 yards; 2 KR, 30 yards; 1 PR, 1 yard

“He’s a magnificent player. He’s a player that we really got to focus on when we play against those guys. He’s very quick, elusive and can really make a big play at any moment in the game. So he’s definitely a guy who has potential — and, what, he’s going into his sophomore year? So he’s still got one more year. But he’s definitely a great young guy and it’s looking very promising for him. And he’s definitely a guy we have to key in on when we play against them guys.”

Iowa DB Michael Ojemudia

Hamler 2018 stat line: 5 catches, 96 yards; 2 KR, 82 yards; 3 PR, 10 yards

“I know a little bit about KJ because he’s from Michigan, too. He’s from Pontiac. And he’s just a really shifty player, really electric. Whenever the ball’s in his hands, he can go the whole distance. So the challenge for us is not to let him get the ball or to let him get minimum yards after the catch.”

Maryland DB Tino Ellis

Hamler 2018 stat line: 3 catches, 90 yards

“KJ, he’s very quick. He’s very quick. He’s a burner, and he can make plays. So that’s one thing I’ll say about KJ: He’s good.”