Nittany Lions quarterback is youngest captain since 1940s



UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg has accomplished something no Nittany Lions player has since the 1940s.

Wednesday, Hackenberg and six other players were announced as team captains, elected by teammates and the coaching staff. Hackenberg became the second-youngest Penn State captain, according to Penn State. Only 1944 freshman John Chuckran earned the honor in a younger class.

Hackenberg was one of two offensive captains, with guard Miles Dieffenbach being the other. Dieffenbach, a Fox Chapel High School graduate, has said he will be out most of the season because of an ACL injury.

The two defensive captains are linebacker Mike Hull, a Canon-McMillan graduate, and defensive end C.J. Olaniyan, who had a breakout season in 2013, finishing with 50 tackles and five sacks.

The three special teams captains are safety Jesse Della Valle, a Shaler graduate and former walk-on, safety Ryan Keiser, also a former walk-on, and kicker Sam Ficken.

According to Penn State, this is the second time the Nittany Lions have had seven captains. The other time was in 1976.


Mark Dent: mdent@post-gazette.com, 412-439-3791 and Twitter @mdent05

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