PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Countdown To Blue-White: James Franklin Is Confident With Early Captain Selection

Penn State’s captains for the 2017 season were named two weeks ago — five months ahead of when the Nittany Lions announced their trio of leaders for last season.

Redshirt junior Trace McSorley will lead the offense next season, while senior linebacker Jason Cabinda is the defensive captain, and redshirt junior safety Nick Scott earned the role for special teams.

“These three young men have been leaders in our program, on and off the field,” James Franklin said. “They live our four core values and act with the program’s best interest in mind. Our team is in good hands with these guys.”

With the official announcement traditionally coming in August, the Nittany Lions surprised with naming the captains prior to the start of practice for the year.

Since voting happens at the same time every year, it was a matter of Franklin’s confidence that he had the right guys after seeing the high numbers of votes from players and coaches picking the same leaders, giving the team a head start during spring ball.

“If we got three or four guys that all around the same amount of votes, then we’ll wait,” Franklin said. “But if it was someone that when we look at the votes, it was obvious from their peers as well as their coaches that they were clearly the guy, then we’ll make the decision and do it now, and be able to go into the summer with some leadership in place.”

Between the current trio, there’s a mix of experience and action that’s prevalent for the Nittany Lions.

After a fantastic first year as Penn State’s starting quarterback, McSorley has spent much time in the film room working on his reads in the passing game, leading to him being a much more confident and comfortable leader in the pocket going forward.

Cabinda, meanwhile, is as experienced as they come with two full seasons as a starter under his belt. The New Jersey native provides leadership lost following the departures of multi-year starters on the defensive line Brandon Bell and Garrett Sickels.

As for the special teams captain, Scott has had the best offseason of any Nittany Lion, according to Franklin. As he fights for the starting role alongside Marcus Allen at safety, Scott’s teammates have been noticing the work he’s putting in.

“Nick is just doing his thing right now,” Allen said. “He’s always in there getting extra work. He’s an athlete, he can run, he can jump out the gym.”

It might not just be those three that will be Penn State’s captains when the Nittany Lions suit up for the opener against Akron on September 2. Franklin hopes to see a number of guys step up into higher leadership roles during the spring and potentially join McSorley, Cabinda, and Scott.

“We didn’t do it last year, but I would like to have two [captains] on offense, two on defense, and two on special teams,” Franklin said. “So that still gives us an opportunity between now and two weeks into camp for somebody else to kind of step up in all three phases as well.”

Penn State might be returning a majority of its starters, and already feels confident enough to name its captains, but there still needs to be room to grow if this team plans on reaching its potential.

That isn’t lost on Franklin. Despite the experience and large presence of leadership on the roster, the Nittany Lions are still running spring practice as they would during any season — starting from basics and formations, then building the team in the weeks moving forward.

“Obviously you see evolution in the players and I think Trace is more vocal at this point than he was last year,” Franklin said. “I’m not sitting here and saying there aren’t differences, but I want to fight that as much as I possibly can. I want guys to go back from the very, very beginning and not take anything for granted.”

About the Author

Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a junior majoring in PR and an editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tried to be a photographer once, but the only good thing that came out of it is a name for his future sports bar, The Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide), email him at [email protected], or come say hi to him in his office, the Irving's basement.


More by Steve

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Longtime Cal athletics employee Mohamed Muqtar was accused by seven former Golden Bears student-athletes of sexual violence and harassment dating back 20 years prior to his firing on May 11. An internal investigation from the school substantiated those claims.

Christian Hackenberg Detailed Development Frustration Before Trade To Raiders

Predicting Penn State’s 2018 Kickoff Times


North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend