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December 13, 2017

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Five Nittany Lions Invited to Combine

GoPSUSports.com/UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. – Five Penn State football student-athletes — Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.), Austin Johnson (Galloway, N.J.), Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Carl Nassib (West Chester, Pa.), Anthony Zettel (West Branch, Mich.) — have been invited to participate in the National Football League’s 2016 Scouting Combine, the third-highest total in the Big Ten Conference.

The 2016 NFL Scouting Combine is set for Feb. 23-29 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Penn State has had five players invited to the combine in each of the last two years. The NFL Network and NFL.com will have coverage of the Scouting Combine. The 2016 NFL Draft is set for April 28-30 in Chicago.

The Combine workout schedule: running backs, offensive line and special teams Friday, Feb. 26; quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends Saturday, Feb. 27; defensive linemen and linebackers Sunday, Feb. 28 and defensive backs Monday, Feb. 29.

Hackenberg started all 38 games of his career and left Penn State with this name etched at the top of the career passing record books. He ranks first in Penn State history in career passing yards (8,457), touchdowns (48), 300-yard passing games (9), 200-yard passing games (21), attempts (1,235), completions (693) and total offense (8,215). Hackenberg is the only quarterback in program history with 8,000 yards passing and three 2,000-yard passing seasons. He is one of just eight Penn State quarterbacks to top the 5,000-yard mark, one of three to surpass the 6,000 career passing yards and joins Mills as the only 7,000-yard passers in PSU history.

Johnson earned All-Big Ten second team honors from the media and third team honors from the coaches in 2015. He also collected All-Big Ten first team accolades from BTN.com and ESPN.com. Johnson was a force up front for the Nittany Lions with 78 tackles, which was third on the team. He also has 6.5 sacks and 15.0 tackles for loss this season. His 78 stops were third among defensive tackles in FBS and the most by a Nittany Lion defensive lineman since Jimmy Kennedy had 87 stops in 2002. Johnson had four outings this season with at least nine tackles in 2015. Johnson was second on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss. Additionally, he registered his first career touchdown with a 71-yard fumble return against San Diego State.

Despite missing the final three games of the season, Lucas was six on the team in tackles with 56, including 2.5 tackles for loss. He also registered three pass breakups, three passes defended and a forced fumble this year. The always reliable Lucas had appeared in 40 consecutive contests until missing the San Diego State game. He had also started 27-straight regular season games before sitting out against the Aztecs. Lucas finished his Penn State career with 180 total tackles, including 117 solo stops, and accounted for 25 pass breakups, 4.0 sacks and 11.0 tackles for loss. A two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention choice, Lucas has registered at least 50 tackles each of the last three seasons.

Nassib had a breakout senior season in which he became the 13th unanimous consensus All-American in program history and winner of a trio of National Awards — Rotary Lombardi Award, Ted Hendricks Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. He was also named the Big Ten’s Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and earned first team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media. Despite playing only four snaps in the last two regular-season games due to injury, Nassib led the FBS in sacks (15.5) and forced fumbles (6) and was 11th in FBS and second in the Big Ten in tackles for loss (19.5). He is the first Nittany Lion to lead the country in a statistical category since Larry Johnson’s 2002 rushing title. With one sack at Northwestern, Nassib broke the Penn State single-season sacks record by upping his total to 15.5.

Zettel collected his second All-Big Ten honor of his career after a bid on the first team last season. He was seventh on the team with 47 tackles, third in sacks (4.0) and fourth in tackles for loss (11.0). Zettel finished his career tied for seventh on Penn State’s career sacks list (20.0) and 10th on the program’s career tackles for loss chart (38). Zettel made five tackles against Buffalo and deflected a pass that Carl Nassib grabbed for an interception in the second quarter. In the next game against San Diego State, he registered seven tackles, including 2.5 TFLs, on his way to earning Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. He registered a career-high eight tackles versus Maryland.

Penn State season ticket renewals and Nittany Lion Club membership renewals also are underway for the 2016 campaign, which includes five Big Ten home games for the first time. There will not be any increase in the price of Penn State football season tickets or Nittany Lion Club donation levels for next season.

For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2016 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m.

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