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Penn State Football Freshmen Choose Iconic Jersey Numbers To Start Their Penn State Careers

Penn State released its official roster update and the jersey numbers of the early enrollees on Friday. Freshmen Micah Parsons, Isaiah Humphries, and Jesse Luketa decided to wear number 11, 2, and 40, respectively, as they begin their careers in Happy Valley. These three numbers all carry more meaning than the average jersey number, as many famous Nittany Lions have donned them in years past.

No. 11: LaVar Arrington, Brandon Bell

Micah Parsons follows in the footsteps of two important linebackers and team leaders by donning No. 11.

Parsons will be the first defensive player to wear No. 11 since linebacker Brandon Bell, who was a key part of the Nittany Lions’ 2016 Big Ten Championship squad. The Mays Landing, NJ, native made a career-high 88 tackles while serving as a team captain, anchoring the team’s defense as it won the Big Ten for the first time since 2008.

Arrington most memorably wore No. 11, when he anchored the Nittany Lions’ defense from 1997-1999, earning All-American honors twice and making dozens of highlight-reel plays, namely the “LaVar Leap.” After his junior year of college, Arrington entered the NFL Draft, in which he was selected No. 2 overall. In the NFL, he recorded 23.5 sacks and 331 tackles.

Wide receiver Irvin Charles wore the number last season, but he left the program prior to the Fiesta Bowl in December.

Additionally, quarterback Matt McGloin wore No. 11 during his four seasons in Happy Valley. He passed for 6,390 yards and 46 touchdowns and led the team through the first full season of the post-Joe Paterno era, leading the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record. McGloin has played for the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders during his five-season NFL career.

No. 2: Marcus Allen, Tommy Stevens

Safety Isaiah Humphries will wear No. 2 next year, giving himself some large shoes to fill on the team’s defense.

Marcus Allen was one of the most popular Nittany Lions during his four-year tenure in Happy Valley due to his charisma and talent. The Maryland native is just one of six Nittany Lions to accumulate 300 tackles during his career, but his post-victory celebration videos, iconic field goal block, and signature celebration quickly made him a fan favorite. Allen’s NFL destination is not set in stone quite yet, but he should find himself selected somewhere in the middle of this year’s NFL Draft.

Humphries — a three-star prospect from Sachse, TX — has the potential to become a key cog in Brent Pry’s defense throughout his Penn State career and is aware of the significance of his jersey number.

On the other side of the ball, boy wonder Tommy Stevens still dons the No. 2 even in his new position as James Franklin’s Lion.

No. 40: Jason Cabinda, Dan Connor

Like Parsons, linebacker Jesse Luketa now owns a meaningful number in the lineage of Linebacker U.

Jason Cabinda ranks ninth in program history with 278 career tackles and was Penn State’s rock on defense for most of the past four seasons. The linebacker was one of the most intimidating players in college football, making his presence known with devastating hits throughout his career. Perhaps his most famous moment at Beaver Stadium came on Ohio State’s final series during the Nittany Lions’ upset victory in 2016, when he sacked JT Barrett. The victory propelled the team back into national contention after struggling with mediocrity for four-and-a-half seasons prior to that.

Dan Connor also previously wore No. 40 during his Nittany Lion career. A two-time All-American, Connor is the program’s all-time leader in tackles. He was drafted 74th overall in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In six seasons with three teams, Connor tallied 216 tackles.

Luketa also has the potential to become a force for James Franklin’s Nittany Lions as they attempt to build off of a 2017 season that saw the team win the Fiesta Bowl and finish with an 11-2 record.

About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's Assistant Sports Editor. He is from Bedminster, NJ and is extremely obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer, including the music of Bruce Springsteen and the best diners in the world. If you're dying to see more hockey content on your timeline, you can follow Mikey on Twitter @mikey_mandarino. Send all hate mail/death threats to [email protected]

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