Trio of Nittany Lions to Serve as Captains for 2007 Season
Aug. 20, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., August 20, 2007 - A trio of seniors have been elected captains of the 2007 Penn State football team.
All-America linebacker Dan Connor (Wallingford), wide receiver Terrell Golden (Norfolk, Va.) and quarterback Anthony Morelli (Pittsburgh) were elected tri-captains by their teammates. The No. 17 Nittany Lions are in the midst of pre-season drills in anticipation of the Sept. 1 season opener vs. Florida International. The contest will kick at 12:00 p.m. and air on the Big Ten Network.
Connor has been named a pre-season first team All-American by various publications and is a candidate for the Bednarik, Butkkus, Rotary Lombardi and Lott awards. Last season, he earned first team All-America honors from The Sporting News and was a second team Associated Press All-American. The former Strath Haven High School standout became the 13th linebacker to earn first team All-America honors at "Linebacker U" under Coach Joe Paterno.
Connor was fifth in the Big Ten with 113 tackles last season and has 274 career stops, 98 away from Paul Posluszny's school record. He also recorded 9.0 tackles for losses, 5.0 sacks (minus-39 yards), led the team with three forced fumbles (sixth in Big Ten), made two interceptions and one safety. Connor was the lone junior among the three finalists for the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player.
The lone senior among Penn State's talented and deep receiving corps, Golden has earned praise from his teammates as one of the squad's leaders since off-season workouts began in January. The recipient of the 2007 Red Worrell Award as the offense's most improved played in spring practice, Golden made six receptions for 120 yards last season. He made one of the biggest plays of 2006 with his diving 17-yard reception on third down for a first-and-goal against Illinois, leading to a touchdown, as the Lions rallied from a halftime deficit to a 26-12 win. The former Lake Taylor High School standout has an impressive career 21.7 yards per catch average, with 18 catches for 390 yards and two touchdowns.
During his first season as the Lions' starting signal-caller, Morelli led Penn State to wins in five of its last six games and broke the school season records for pass completions (208) and attempts (386). His 2,424 passing yards were third-highest on the school season list. Morelli had 11 touchdown passes and eight interceptions and posted the school's seventh-lowest season interception percentage.
A candidate for the Davey O'Brien and Johnny Unitas awards, he ended the season with a very strong performance, going 14 of 25 for 197 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions, in directing the Outback Bowl win over Tennessee. The former Penn Hills High School All-American threw for a career-high 281 yards and two scores in the win at Minnesota and had three scoring strikes against Akron, becoming the first Lion quarterback in the Big Ten era with a trio of TD passes in their first career start.
Joe Paterno's 42nd Nittany Lion team returns 15 starters and 32 letterwinners for the 2007 season, which launches with "Penn State Football Eve, presented by Sheetz" on Friday, August 31 in Beaver Stadium. Stadium gates will open at 6:00 p.m. and festivities inside the stadium begin at 7:45 p.m. Admission and parking are free.