There really wasn’t much suspense about who the favorites to be the Nittany Lions’ captains this season might be, and the program put any potential questions to rest today when the players elected three of them to lead them in the fall.
Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda and two juniors, quarterback Trace McSorley and safety Nick Scott, were voted into those roles by their teammates.
“These three young men have been leaders in our program, on and off the field,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “They live our four core values and act with the program’s best interest in mind. Our team is in good hands with these guys!”
Cabinda (pictured above) missed five games with a hand injury last season, but he still earned third-team All-Big Ten honors. He finished the season with 81 tackles.
That said, he might be a better spokesman for the program than he is a player, and he’s a terrific player. Cabinda is well-spoken and insightful, thoughtful and honest.
He’ll represent the defense as captain.
The special teams captain, Scott (right) came to Penn State as a running back before changing positions to provide some depth in the secondary last season.
He appeared in 13 games last season and finished second on the squad with eight special teams tackles. Scott had a career-high three special teams tackles against Maryland in October. He also made special teams stops against Kent State, Pitt, Michigan State, Wisconsin and USC. 2016, Scott also returned six kickoffs, averaging 23 yards per return.
Like Cabinda, McSorley was a clear frontrunner for captain’s honors, and he’ll represent the offense.
The reigning Big Ten Championship Game MVP, McSorley turned in one of the top quarterback campaigns in program history, breaking the Penn State season record for passing yards (3,614), passing touchdowns (29) and total offense records (3,979). McSorley threw TD passes to 10 different receivers, marking the first time since 1971 a Penn State quarterback found 10-plus pass catchers for scores.
He’s a different kind of leader than Cabinda and Scott, a fiery competitor who puts his team on his back and leads as much by example as with well-chosen words.
McSorley and Scott photos by Associated Press. Cabinda photo by Christopher Dolan / Times Shamrock.