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April 19, 2024

Nittany Lions Captains Named PARK, Pa.; August 10, 2015 Penn State football head coach James Franklin announced that Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.), Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Angelo Mangiro (Roxbury, N.J.), Von Walker (Mill Hall, Pa.) and Anthony Zettel (West Branch, Mich.) will serve as team captains for the 2015 season. Hackenberg is a team captain for the second consecutive year.

“This group of guys was selected by their teammates and coaches because they are outstanding ambassadors for our program,” Franklin said. “They are leaders in the classroom, in the community, in the locker room and are important influencers for our team.”

Entering the season poised to become the top passer in Penn State history, Hackenberg capped his sophomore season by breaking or tying nine PSU single game bowl records. He has stated all 25 career games under center and enters the season ranked No. 3 in career passing yards (5,932), attempts (876) and completions (501), and is No. 4 in career total offense (5,770). He is one of just eight Nittany Lions to amass over 5,000 passing yards and is the only Penn State signal caller to break the 400-yard mark in a game, throwing for a school-record 454 yards in a victory over UCF at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin. Ireland. In 2014, Hackenberg led the Big Ten with 20.7 completions per game, ranking 23rd nationally, and finished second in the conference and 39th nationally with 2,977 passing yards. Hackenberg is on numerous preseason watch lists, including Maxwell Award – College Football MVP, Davey O’Brien Award – Nation’s Top Quarterback, Walter Camp Award – National Player of the Year, Manning Award – Nation’s Top Quarterback.

An honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection last season, Lucas is the unquestioned leader of the secondary. His 58 stops in 2014 ranked third on the team and his nine pass breakups ranked among the best in the Big Ten. Lucas notched a career-best 2.0 sacks last season, including a key fourth quarter takedown of Tyler Murphy in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl victory over Boston College. Lucas closed the season strong, making 20 stops in his final three games, including a season-high-tying seven stops against the Eagles in the overtime bowl victory. Lucas is on the watch list for the Nagurski Trophy for National Defensive Player of the Year.

Mangiro was the leader of a young offensive line corps in 2014, starting every game and making starts at three different positions. He made 10 starts at center, two at right tackle and one at left guard. His efforts up front helped Penn State amass over 300 yards of total offense on seven occasions in 2014, including 453 yards vs. Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Mangiro was instrumental in protecting Hackenberg, who continued to climb the career passing charts, ending the season ranked among the top three in passing yards, attempts and completions. He is on the Rimmington Trophy watch list for the Nation’s Top Center.

Walker earned a scholarship in April after two seasons as a walk-on, including a move from running back to linebacker during 2014 spring practice. Walker appeared in 12 games last season and made his first career start versus Northwestern. He was also a major contributor on special teams, ranking third on the team with five special teams tackles, including four on kickoff coverage. Overall, Walker made 12 stops (five solo) and registered one tackle-for-loss in 2014. In the 48-7 win over UMass, Walker made a career-high three tackles. In his first career start against the Wildcats, the Mill Hall, Pennsylvania native tied his personal mark with three tackles. He has also excelled in the classroom, earning Academic All-Big Ten honors last year.

After moving from defensive end to defensive tackle in 2014, Zettel enjoyed his most productive season on the field in the blue and white. A fourth-team All-America selection by Athlon Sports and an All-Big Ten first-team pick by both the coaches and media, Zettel logged career-best totals with 17 tackles-for-loss and 8.0 sacks. His 16.0 career sacks rank tied for No. 15 in Penn State history and his 27.0 career TFLs are just five shy of entering the top-15 in the PSU record books. Zettel was the only FBS player to rank among the national leaders in sacks and interceptions per game in 2014. The athletic defensive lineman nabbed three interceptions, the most by a PSU defensive lineman since at least 1959, to tie for the team lead in the category and added one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and eight pass deflections. Zettel is on a number of watch lists, including Bednarik Award – National Defensive Player of the Year, Nagurski Trophy – Defensive Player of the Year, Outland Trophy – Nation’s Top Interior Lineman, Lombardi Award – Nation’s Top Lineman or Linebacker.

The Nittany Lions open the 2015 campaign on the road against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 5 at 3:30 p.m.

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