Lucas Enjoys Selfie Celebrations

Penn State's first-year starting cornerback is also enjoying a strong sophomore season, which has been big for coach Bill O'Brien and the rest of the Nittany Lions.

The word “selfie” has been in the headlines frequently of late. American Heritage Dictionary announced it as a new addition just this week. Oxford Dictionaries tabbed it as the 2013 “word of the year.”

And Penn State cornerback Jordan Lucas is bringing a certain level of notoriety to the word with his unique big-play celebration. After an interception -- like the one he had against Purdue last weekend -- Lucas makes on he is holding a cell phone in his right hand and taking a photo of himself.

For those not up on pop culture, “selfies” are just that -- photos taken of one's self.

“It's just something I've been doing on one of the social networks, Instagram,” Lucas said. “We just brought it out on the field. It's something my teammates and I can do after making a big play. It's fun for us. We just run with it.”

Lucas demonstrates his selfie technique.

Informed of this earlier in the week, PSU coach Bill O'Brien said, “We'll have a discussion about that. … I'll take a selfie of him.”

As of Wednesday morning, though, that discussion had not happened.

“We're too busy preparing for Nebraska,” Lucas said. “So that will probably come at a later date.”

Or it may never come.

Because as the Nittany Lions get ready for their final two games of the season -- at home against the Cornhuskers this week and at Wisconsin next -- Lucas has emerged as one of the defense's most consistent, effective players. And in doing so, the sophomore and first-year starter has become known as a consummate team player.

“He's an outgoing guy,” senior safety Malcolm Willis said. “He's funny off the field and on the field. When we're having a dull moment on the field or someone gives up a big play in practice or something like that, he's the guy that tells you don't worry about it and makes a joke about it.”

After Lucas intercepted Boilermaker quarterback Danny Etling in the second quarter last weekend, the veteran Willis was right there in the celebration. As Lucas faked taking a photo of himself, Willis joined in.

“He was taking a photo of me,” Lucas said. He was laughing, because in reality Willis was taking a pretend photo of Lucas taking a fake selfie.

But rest assured, there has been nothing phony about Lucas' performance on the field this year. After serving as a backup safety in 2012, he was moved to corner in the offseason. He quickly locked down a starting job and has been Penn State's best defensive back since.

He leads the Lions in interceptions (three) and pass breakups (11). He is also third on the team in tackles with 53 and tied for third in tackles for loss with 4.5. In the Big Ten rankings, he is third in passes defended (14) and tied for eighth in interceptions.

All of this while dealing with what O'Brien would only reveal as a “bum shoulder.”

“He makes plays back there, intercepts the ball,” O'Brien said. “He plays enthusiastically, (and is) a great teammate and fun guy to coach. I can't say enough about Jordan. He's obviously one of our better young players.”

While Lucas said he is now completely comfortable at corner, he also realizes he is far from a polished product. After the Purdue game he spent more time lamenting the two near-picks he did not get than the one he got.

“Interceptions to a cornerback, that's like cake to a fat man,” he said.

So his personal goals for the rest of the season are simple.

“Just preparing and being hard on myself and always trying to stay one step ahead of the next guy,” he reported.

Team-wise, it is a different story. Though Lucas has two seasons of eligibility remaining, he understands this year's seniors only have two games left. And that starts with the Senior Day matchup with Nebraska.

“It's gonna mean a lot to me, just because of how close I am to the senior class and how much this means to them,” Lucas said. “So I'm going to match their intensity in practice the rest of the week and just go out there Saturday and enjoy one of my last go-rounds with them.”

And maybe enjoy a few more selfie celebrations with his teammates in the process.

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