Breakout prospect No. 5: Bill Belton

I debated whether to put Bill Belton on this list since he’s not even on campus yet and wont’ be until June, but Curtis Drake’s injury plus Joe Paterno’s doubts about Drake’s availability for this season cinched it.

Belton, a high school quarterback, might just be the best player in Penn State’s incoming recruiting class. He’s talented enough to play four positions (wide receiver, cornerback, free safety and even quarterback despite being just 5-foot-9), but he’ll line up as a slot receiver for the Nittany Lions. They’ll need him with the injury to Drake, who early in spring practice broke his left leg for the second time in less than a year. At Penn State’s spring practice media day last Friday, Paterno all but declared Drake out for the season which bodes well for Belton, an explosive playmaker capable of scoring every time he touches the ball.

Watching Belton run on his high school tape would have any Nittany Lion fan excited. Not only his he fast, but he’s quick (I know they sound the same, but they’re not). He can put his foot in the ground and make a cut on a dime. And he has great vision, thanks to playing quarterback in a system that asked him to run the ball inside a lot. He finds the seem quickly and goes. No hesitation at all.

With Devon Smith getting some good experience last season, Belton won’t be asked to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he’s definitely talented enough to be a big part of Penn State’s offense. Maybe not right away, but by the time the Big Ten opener at Indiana on Oct. 1 rolls around Belton should be making a name for himself.

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