This is the second piece in our position-by-position look at the best tandems in the Big Ten this season. Today it's best receiving duo.
The best: Penn State
The duo: WR Allen Robinson and TE Kyle Carter
The reasoning: Robinson (6-feet-3, 210 pounds), a junior, is the best receiver in the Big Ten. He was on the field for just 93 plays as a true freshman in 2011, then adapted quickly to coach Bill O'Brien's offense last season, leading the Big Ten with 77 receptions, 1,013 receiving yards and 11 receiving TDs. It was just the third 1,000-yard season in school history for a receiver, and the receptions total set a school record. Robinson, who is from the Detroit area, has excellent size, good speed and big-time athleticism (he has the best vertical jump on the team, at 37 inches); he can get deep, too, as he had nine receptions covering at least 30 yards. His numbers could suffer a bit as Penn State breaks in a new quarterback.
O'Brien's arrival meant tight ends became a legitimate part of Penn State's passing attack, and Carter was the main beneficiary. Carter (6-3, 243), a third-year sophomore, could stand to add some bulk and become a better blocker, but he has above-average receiving skills and can run. He finished second on the team with 36 receptions and 453 receiving yards despite missing three games with injuries. He also caught two TD passes and had six catches of at least 20 yards. He and fellow sophomore Jesse James (6-7, 257) give O'Brien and his coaches a lot to work with at tight end; indeed, look for numerous two-tight end sets for the Nittany Lions this fall, as Carter and James present all sorts of matchup problems.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.