Penn State Football: A Capsule Look at All 31 Nittany Lion Seniors for Today's Senior Day
It will be a senior moment 30 minutes before kickoff against Wisconsin today in Beaver Stadium. In fact, there will be 31 of them.
That’s when the leaders of the 2012 Penn State football team will honored for their extraordinary contributions and commitments on and off the field in what has been the most challenging collegiate season ever.
At 3 p.m., those seniors – comprising nearly one-third of the Nittany Lions’ 102-man roster – will come out of the south tunnel of the stadium as players for the final time and receive some very well-deserved accolades.
Sure to receive the loudest cheers: Linebacker Michael Mauti, the team’s outspoken leader who led by example in nearly every way imaginable. Injured last week against Indiana, he will be sidelined but will no doubt still be a major presence.
Also expect the Beaver Stadium crowd to cheer especially loud for running back Michael Zordich, linebacker Gerald Hodges, defensive tackle, cornerback Stephon Morris and quarterback Matt McGloin. If and when first-year head coach Bill O’Brien is announced, he will receive applause equal to any of the players – but, characteristically, he no doubt deflect any praise of the 7-4 Nittany Lions.
“There have been some great teams in this program's history -- the 1982 and 1986 national championship teams, the 1994 undefeated team -- on the field,” O’Brien said. “But no team has gone through more than this team. That’s why this senior class will go down as one of the greatest in Penn State history.”
PENN STATE’S SENIOR CLASS
Mark Arcidiacono (Holland, Pa.), No. 73, G – big presence (6-4, 293) on the Nittany Lion practice field.
Joe Baker (West Chester, Pa.), No. 32, P – Philly area native who has roots in rugby.
P.J. Byers (Harrison City, Pa.), No. 45, FB – active duty member of the U.S. Navy’s officer program, a mature and steady force in the locker room and on the scout team.
Cody Castor (Uniontown, Pa.), No. 96, DT – little-used defensive lineman, he grabbed an interception in the 2010 Blue-White Game.
Derek Day (Harrisburg, Pa.), No. 24, RB – special teams plugger who has ran for 109 yards on 33 carries, highlighted by his only career start vs. Virginia.
Andre Dupree (Waldorf, Md.), No. 30, FB – walk-on who carried once in 2011, for five yards against Eastern Michigan.
Emery Etter (Chambersburg, Pa.), No. 57, KS – saw a lot of game action in 2011 as a veteran long snapper, then missed spring drills and significant time after off-season surgery.
Jacob Fagnano (Williamsport, Pa.), No. 27, Saf – versatile special teams and key secondary back-up, with a career start vs. Indiana and a career-high nine tackles against Ohio.
Mike Farrell (Pittsburgh, Pa.), No. 78, OT – cerebral and versatile, started every game in 2012; owns 3.40 GPA.
Frank Figueroa (Alexandria, Va.), No. 62, OL – both a guard and a center, often on the cusp of significant playing time.
Patrick Flanagan (State College, Pa.), No. 15, CB – diminutive and gutsy native of Happy Valley; uncle (Patrick Chambers) is coach of the Penn State basketball team.
Michael Fuhrman (Pittsburgh, Pa.), No. 44, KS – long snapper who waited five years to play, but made it pay off with key fumble recovery at Illinois; his father, Chet, was a longtime PSU strength coach.
Jordan Hill (Steelton, Pa.), No. 47, DT – team leader in word and deed with 26 starts; an active and imposing presence, witness his performance against Iowa: nine tackles (seven solo, two for a loss), one sack and one hurry.
Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.), No. 6, LB – Butkus Award semifinalist and also on watch list for Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski who plays at a speed and with an abandon that makes him No. 7 in the Big Ten in tackles; has started all 23 games the past two years.
Brian Irvin (Orrtanna, Pa.), No. 82, TE – former defensive lineman who played in all 12 games in 2011; made an 18-yard reception in 2012 Blue-White Game.
Christian Kuntz (Camp Hill, Pa.), No. 17, WR – has seen some game action in 2012 after grabbing one pass for 17 yards in 2011, as well as two in this year’s Blue-White Game, including an 11-yarder from McGloin for a touchdown.
Evan Lewis (Gettysburg, Pa.), No. 37, WR/PR – versatile former QB who’s been a place-kicker, receiver and a punt returner (nine for 54 yards in ’12), and ran for a first down on a fake FG attempt vs. Iowa in 2011.
Pete Massaro (Newtown Square, Pa.), No. 59, DE – oft-injured yet owns 15 career starts; a two-time Academic All-American with a 3.85 GPA.
Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.), No. 42, LB – unmatched team leader in Penn State football history; huge force on the playing field who suffered the third major injury of his career vs. Indiana; team’s No. 2 tackler (95) behind Hodges (102), he had three picks in 2012, returning one 99 yards at Illinois.
Matt McGloin (Scranton, Pa.), No. 11, QB – passing numbers, for season and career, are unparalleled in PSU history; the picture of perseverance, work ethic and on0the-field leadership.
Shane McGregor (Ebensburg, Pa.), No. 2, QB – career backup, known for his classroom prowess, long blonde locks and consistent practice leadership.
Stephon Morris (Greenbelt, Md.), No. 12, CB – 23 career starts are fourth on the team, with the 2012 games played at an elevated level; an articulate and emotional leader of the secondary (fifth on the team in tackles) and defense.
J.R. Refice (Jessup, Pa.), No. 41, FB – big, strong and steady player often mentioned for his contributions on the scout team.
Matt Stankiewitch (Orwigsburg, Pa.), No. 54, C – on watch list for the Rimington Award, and rightfully so: calls blocking signals with experience that comes with starts in all of 2011-12 and a 3.42 GPA.
Sean Stanley (Rockville, Md.), No. 90, DE – has struggled with a back injury, but made nine starts this season, with 11 tackles for a loss or a sack.
James Terry (New Castle, Del.), No. 93, DT – big-sized (316 pounds) veteran backup, with a pair of career starts for a very competitive D-line.
Jamie Van Fleet (Williamsport, Pa.), LB – three-year letter-winner, who excelled on special teams and played in all 39 possible games before tearing his ACL last December.
Garrett Venuto (Ithaca, N.Y.), No. 14, QB – quarterbacks came and went, but Venuto was always there on the scout team and at practice.
Mike Wallace (Silver Spring, Md.), CB – veteran backup known as Mike Walz on campus for his hip hop stylings that included opening for Big Sean at Hoops Madness, his missed his senior season due to a torn pec.
Mike Yancich (Washington, Pa.), No. 33, LB – longtime linebacker and valuable special teams play-maker who spent time at tight end before returning to LB; scored touchdown off of blocked punt against Ohio State.
Michael Zordich (Youngstown, Ohio), No. 9, FB – paired with Mauti as team’s leaders, and backed it up with 293 yards on 75 carries, with seven touchdowns, as the No. 2 rusher; relentless on the field and off.