The Nittany Lions nearly made it through spring drills without a season-ending injury, but during the final contact practice prior to the Blue-White game the good fortune changed. Fifth-year senior linebacker Jamie Van Fleet suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the practice and in all likelihood will not be available to play this season. A consistently productive force on special teams and the defense, his hard-working, tough and fearless approach will be missed on both units. Van Fleet has played in all 39 games during his Penn State career. One of the squad's top students, Van Fleet earned Dean's List and Academic All-Big Ten honors for the second time last fall. The former Loyalsock High School all-state honoree owned a 3.40 cumulative grade-point average entering the summer and is on schedule to graduate in December.
2011 Senior Season
Van Fleet appeared in every game for the third straight year, bringing his total to 39 consecutive games played in his career. He recorded 10 tackles on defense and special teams, with a career-high four against Eastern Michigan, including one for a loss. He also made one stop each against Indiana State, Alabama, Indiana, Purdue, Nebraska and Houston. Van Fleet was on the field for 218 snaps, topped by 26 in the matchup against Eastern Michigan. He earned Academic All-Big Ten honors for the second time.
2010 Junior Season
Van Fleet appeared in all 13 games at linebacker and is one of the squad's most productive special teams players. Van Fleet completed one of the biggest plays of the season when he scooped up an Indiana punt, blocked by Andrew Dailey, and returned it 21 yards to give Penn State the lead for good in the third quarter in the win at FedEx Field. The score was the first of his Nittany Lion career. Van Fleet made 11 tackles, seven solo, during the season. He recorded three hits each against Youngstown State and Illinois. He notched two solo tackles in the 41-24 win over Indiana. Van Fleet was on the field for 183 snaps, topped by 24 plays at Iowa and 19 against Florida in the 2011 Outback Bowl. He earned Academic All-Big Ten accolades.
2009 Sophomore Season
Van Fleet was a strong and steady contributor on special teams. He played in every game and had five tackles. Van Fleet saw action on 85 snaps during the 2009 campaign, led by 14 against Temple. He made three solo stops on nine special teams plays in the win at Northwestern and had solo tackles against Akron and Temple.
2008 Freshman Season
A two-year captain and all-state selection, Van Fleet played for Coach Richard Delaney at Loyalsock HS. He received CSC Linebacker-of-the-Year, team MVP and ESPN 1050 Linebacker/Defensive Player-of-the-Year honors his senior year. Van Fleet recorded 156 tackles and seven sacks his senior season, helping his team become the winningest squad in school history.
Full name is James Mackenzie Van Fleet. He is the son of Duane and Susan Van Fleet. He has three older siblings, Justin, Kyle, and Alison, and two younger sisters, Kayla and Sarah. His father played football at East Stroudsburg University. His brother, Justin, played at Susquehanna and Kyle played at Georgetown. Van Fleet enjoys hunting and fishing. He is enrolled in landscape contracting in the College of Agricultural Sciences. A Dean's List student, he owned a 3.40 cumulative grade-point average after the spring semester. Born April 1, 1990 in Williamsport, Pa.