What Numbers Should Penn State Retire Next?
John Cappelletti, the only Heisman winner in Penn State Football history, had his jersey number retired on Saturday. Penn State had always held out on retiring jerseys, but Cappelletti’s #22 opened the door for other numbers to be retired down the road. We made a list of other players who could be next to see their jersey framed and never worn again.
LaVar Arrington (#11): Made famous for the LaVar Leap, Arrington won the Bednarik and Butkus award during the 1999 season. He is regarded as one of the best Penn State linebackers in history and is a fan favorite for a generation of Nittany Lions fans. Also, Moxie.
Michael Robinson/Wally Triplett (#12): Wally Triplett became the first African-American player to start a game for Penn State back in 1945. If ever there’s a historic anecdote to be honored, it’s this one. Michael Robinson led the 2005 Nittany Lions to a 11-1 record and an Orange Bowl win, while also winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. After a number of poor years for Penn State football, Robinson is credited for leading the resurgence of the program.
Paul Posluszny/Shane Conlan (#31): #31 is a number rich in Linebacker U history. Conlan had 274 tackles in his career, and was drafted #1 overall to the Buffalo Bills. Posluszny won the Butkus award and the Bednarik award (twice), and graduated as Penn State’s all-time leader in tackles. He currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Lenny Moore/Michael Mauti (#42): Moore wore #42 from 1953-1955, and finished his career with 2380 rushing yards. Moore was called “probably the best player I’ve coached, all-around” by coach Joe Paterno. Of course, we all know Michael Mauti’s story. The team leader of the 2012 squad, Mauti, along with teammate Michael Zordich, helped to hold the team together, and convinced players not to transfer when the NCAA allowed Penn State players free transfer. His leadership will be celebrated in Penn State circles for years to come.
Adam Taliaferro (#43): Taliaferro may not have the best statistics on this list, but he’s certainly one of the most deserving. Taliaferro was paralyzed from the neck down while making a tackle during the 2000 season, and was given only a 3% chance to walk again. He beat the odds, and led the team out of the tunnel the next season. He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees.
Steve Suhey (#62): Suhey, the 1948 team captain, is widely credited with the creation of the “We Are” chant. Prior to the 1948 Cotton Bowl, Penn State’s opponent Southern Methodist requested a meeting to protest Penn State bringing its two black players to the game. Suhey is reported to have said, “We are Penn State. There will be no meetings.” And then, a legend was born.
What numbers do you think should be retired, if any? Let us know in the comments!