A few hours before taking the StubHub Center field for practice, Penn State linebacker Jason Cabinda made Nittany Lion fans rather happy.
Cabinda will not enter the NFL Draft and is set to return to Penn State for his senior season, the linebacker announced on his personal Twitter account Wednesday.
The linebacker said Wednesday that he always felt 95 percent sure that he’d return to Penn State.
Cabinda was just waiting for the day that he woke up and felt 100 percent positive about it. After talking with his parents again Wednesday morning, he came to his decision.
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“It’s great being able to play another year with these guys,” Cabinda said. “Going through the grind with another year and another offseason, all these workouts and these grinds are when the team gets close. We’ve been through a lot. We’ve been through adversity. I’m just happy I’ll be able to experience another year and experience more Whiteouts next year.”
Cabinda has been a leader on Penn State’s defense this season. Manning the middle linebacker position, he’s been a critical communicator — as well as a sure tackler. The New Jersey native has 70 tackles, four of them for a loss and one sack in just eight games played this season.
The junior, after missing five consecutive games, came back for the Ohio State game and recorded 13 tackles in Penn State’s 24-21 upset.
Last year, Cabinda led the team in tackles as a sophomore, racking up 100 stops.
Penn State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry said Cabinda’s decision to stay will not only impact the Nittany Lion defense on the field, but also off of it.
The coach said Cabinda’s work ethic and leadership during the offseason is valuable for a young unit.
“I told him I was going to tie him up and handcuff him and not let him go,” Pry said with a smile. “It’s a great feeling. We want all these guys to come back. We feel like we’re on the verge of something really special.”
Cabinda is the second Penn State player to recently announce their intent to return. Tight end Mike Gesicki said last week that he would also be coming back for his senior season.
Both players figure to be key parts of the Rose Bowl when the No. 5 Nittany Lions face No. 9 Southern California at 5 p.m. on Monday.