Penn State has its 2018 captains — and it’s little surprise who the Nittany Lions chose.
As voted on by teammates, Trace McSorley, Nick Scott and Blake Gillikin were named Penn State’s offensive, defensive and special teams captains, respectively, on Saturday morning. McSorley and Scott were captains in 2017, with the latter leading the special teams unit.
“Trace and Nick have earned the respect of their teammates after being selected by their peers as captain for a second straight year,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said in a press release. “Blake has been outstanding for our very young special teams unit and has been killing it in the classroom with a perfect GPA. These three have been leaders for us in the locker room, on the field and in the classroom. This team will continue to make great strides under their leadership.”
McSorley is a no-brainer here. The Heisman Trophy senior darkhorse entering his third year as Penn State’s starter at quarterback is the key to the Nittany Lion offense. With Saquon Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton and Mike Gesicki gone to the NFL, Penn State will look to McSorley more than ever.
Scott, a leading candidate for one of the open safety spots, is a consummate leader. The senior and former running back has been lauded for making sacrifices throughout his Penn State career. That, combined with his experience as a former captain, made him a solid option to replace Jason Cabinda as the team’s defensive leader.
And Gillikin — an Academic All-Big Ten selection last year with a 4.0 GPA — was an obvious choice. Penn State will have a new placekicker, long-snapper and holder in 2018, and the junior punter provides stability to a changing unit.
Gillikin’s first game as a captain will be Sept. 1, when McSorley, Scott and the rest of the Nittany Lions host Appalachian State.