Lions select captains
UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State football coach James Franklin announced seniors Trace McSorley and Nick Scott and junior Blake Gillikin have been voted as team captains for the 2018 season by their teammates. McSorley and Scott are team captains for the second-straight season.
“Trace and Nick have earned the respect of their teammates after being selected by their peers as captain for a second-straight year,” Franklin said. “Blake has been outstanding for our very young special teams unit and has been killing it in the classroom with a perfect GPA. These three have been leaders for us in the locker room, on the field and in the classroom. This team will continue to make great strides under their leadership.”
Gillikin is coming off a season in which he garnered second-team all-Big Ten accolades from the coaches and media. He also took home second-team all-conference honors from the Associated Press and was honorable-mention all-America by GPR Punt Ratings. He finished 35th in FBS with a 43.2 punting average and was fourth in FBS in coffin wedge average (89.84) according to GPR punt rating. Gillikin also excelled in the classroom, earning CoSIDA academic all-district and academic all-Big Ten honors while maintaining a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average.
McSorley, who was a captain in 2017, enters his final season having thrown a touchdown pass in 28-straight games, the longest active streak in FBS. He holds the Penn State career records for completion percentage (61.8), passing efficiency (152.9), passing touchdowns (59), total offense (8,268). He also owns the Penn State season marks for passing yards (3,614; 2016), completions (284; 2017), passing touchdowns (29; 2016), total offense (4,061; 2017), 300-yard passing games (five; 2016 and 2017), 200-yard passing games (11; 2016 and 2017) and touchdowns responsible for (37; 2017). In 2017, McSorley became just the second player in Big Ten history to have 25 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing scores in the same season, joining Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett (2014 and 2017). McSorley earned his second consecutive berth on the all-Big Ten second team as selected by the coaches and media last season. McSorley was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Manning Award.
Scott, who was a captain last season, had 33 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. He scooped up a fumble against Indiana, which was forced by Irvin Charles on Hooiser punt return, and took it 13 yards for his second career touchdown. He previously had a rushing touchdown against Army in 2015. A leader on special teams, Scott finished third on the team with nine tackles on special teams with eight coming on kickoffs and one on punt coverage in 2017.
Penn State returns 13 starters (eight offensive, three defensive, two specialists) and 26 additional lettermen. The Nittany Lions open the season at Beaver Stadium against Appalachian State Sept. 1.