The Magnificent ... Eight?
Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, but no matter: Penn State announced captains for the 2017-18 season on Sunday, with players and coaches voting to name eight players as top Lions. Heisman contenders Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley lead the group, with an intriguing (and not entirely surprising) mix making up the remainder.
You might've heard of this fella if you read this blog, read sports periodicals, maybe even watch television. An expected top-10 pick in the NFL draft when the junior from Coplay, Pa., decides to declare, Barkley is explosive, elusive and electric.
He headed into the 2016 season needing to prove he could play quarterback in a Power 5 Conference. All McSorley did as a sophomore was lead the Nittany Lions' offense on a mind-bending rampage on the way to an unexpected 11-3 season, a number of postseason accolades. Oh, and he's even being talked about as a Heisman contender.
Grant Haley, CB
Haley was one half of arguably the most exciting special teams play -- heck, play -- in Penn State history, when he scooped the blocked field goal against Ohio State last season and took it to the house for the go-ahead score. Penn State upended the Buckeyes, igniting a run to the Rose Bowl. Haley returns for his senior season firmly planted as starting cornerback.
Marcus Allen, S
Allen, of course, was the other part of the play that took down Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, as he blocked the field goal attempt. A fan favorite who many wanted to see show more on the field did just that last season, and now he's creeping up NFL draft boards.
Nick Scott, S
A special teams dynamo (remember his hit on Maryland's Will Likely?), Scott is a bright personality on and off the field. The redshirt junior also is aiming to get more on-field time at safety this season.
Tyler Davis, K
As a redshirt junior, Davis was a steady foot for the Nittany Lions last season, hitting 22 of 24 field goals, and garnering all-Big Ten honors. He enters the 2017 campaign on the Lou Groza Award watch list for the nation's best placekicker.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR
With Chris Godwin's departure to the NFL, Hamilton is the team's top returning receiver. A steady presence with the team since his freshman season, when he led the Big Ten with 82 (!) receptions, Hamilton is out to prove he can be the absolute go-to WR that Godwin was for McSorley in 2016.
Jason Cabinda, LB
The current face (and eyes and thumb) of Linebacker U, Cabinda ignited a defensive unit that sorely needed him in his return from injuries against Ohio State. Always an outspoken leader of the team, Cabinda eschewed the NFL draft for a crack at a potential national title run with the Nittany Lions.
(Note: Cabinda, McSorley and Scott were announced in March; today's release added five more captains to the mix.)
Your 2017 Penn State Football captains:
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) August 20, 2017