‘It Gives You Chills’: Penn State Football’s Dom DeLuca Living Dream Ahead Of White Out

September 23, 2023, will be a special date for a long time for Dom DeLuca.

The game won’t be DeLuca’s first White Out game. Penn State football’s newest fan-favorite has been in Beaver Stadium for his share of White Out games. He played in last year’s White Out game against Minnesota as a redshirt sophomore, still as a run-on making his name on special teams and as a depth addition at linebacker.

The 2023 White Out will be slightly different, though. DeLuca likely won’t hear his name called out on the public address system as a starter — he’ll still have to wait a few years for that. But he’ll walk through the gates that read “Penn State” before any of his other teammates as a team captain. This year, he gets to wear the No. 0 jersey as just the second player in Penn State history to do so. He gets to know that he isn’t just a run-on making a couple of tackles each game. Now, he’s a key aspect of the Nittany Lions defense and special teams unit.

DeLuca has never been quiet about the fact that he’s a lifelong Penn State football fan. He’s mentioned that his No. 0 jersey is worn around his hometown of West Pittston, Pennsylvania, a town where he used to see the jerseys of his favorite Nittany Lions. DeLuca grew up watching Penn State football and has long said that playing football in Beaver Stadium was a dream he had growing up.

Now, DeLuca’s living out that dream daily. The experience of playing for Penn State in a White Out, he said, is surreal. DeLuca gets to spend time with his childhood idols, who know as much about him as he does them.

“I just saw Trace [McSorley] and Grant [Haley] at the facility, and I told them I was at that game in 2016 when the blocked field goal happened and we beat Ohio State,” DeLuca said. “I rushed down on the field with everyone, and it was a great feeling to be on the field and just experience that win as a fanbase, too. Now, running out of the tunnel at a White Out, it gives you chills.”

DeLuca continued a line of notable Penn State football players who only earned their scholarships after spending time with the program as a walk-on or run-on. The likes of Carl Nassib and Matt McGloin have traveled the same journey as DeLuca, from non-scholarship players to team captains. It’s a comparison DeLuca doesn’t take lightly.

“I used to watch them growing up, so I always knew it was possible. Being able to follow in their footsteps, it’s a great feeling to never give up on your dreams and keep on working hard,” DeLuca said. “It all pays off eventually and I feel it’s paying off.”

In his third year and a mentor to the program’s younger players, DeLuca said some of the team’s younger stars ask him what the White Out experience is like, but he struggles to come up with an answer for them.

“It’s not really an experience I can describe to them, you just have to experience it,” he said.

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About the Author

Sophia Monteforte

Sophia is a freshman here at PSU and a new member at OS. She is a broadcast journalism major and plans to minor in sports studies because she want to pursue a career in sports broadcasting but has a strong passion for writing. She loves going on sunset walks around the arboretum, going to a workout class, watching Friends or Gilmore Girls and shopping at Mclanahan's for game day outfits! Follow Sophia on instagram @sophiamonteforte or twitter @sophiamontefor3

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