James Franklin announced Penn State’s team captains today, and among them is the first-ever sophomore team captain in Christian Hackenberg.
Here is the list in full:
- Offense: Hackenberg, guard Miles Dieffenbach
- Defense: Linebacker Mike Hull, defensive end C.J. Olaniyan
- Special Teams: Kicker Sam Ficken, safeties Jesse Della Valle and Ryan Keiser
Hackenberg will be the second-youngest Nittany Lion captain in school history after winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in 2013. The last non-senior captain was current Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny in 2005. Posluszny was a junior when he held the role.
“The players and the coaches voted on the team captains and these players have clearly earned the respect of their teammates and coaches,” Franklin said in an announcement. “We are trying to promote and develop leadership throughout the entire program and I’m really excited about the role our captains will have throughout the season.”
The seven captains that will lead the team this year are tied for the most in the school’s history. The last bunch of Nittany Lions to have seven captains was Joe Paterno’s 1976 squad. No team has had this many captains since Joe Paterno’s 1991 squad with six.
The senior leadership that this year’s squad boasts is evident, as six of the seven captains are seniors. Hackenberg will also be taking an increased leadership role, but Franklin seems to be confident that Hack can get the job done and lead the offense by example.
The season open up on August 30, as the Nittany Lions square off against UCF in Dublin, Ireland.