Penn State Names Captains

A trio of Penn State standouts have been elected by their teammates to lead the Nittany Lions for the 2005 season. Senior quarterback Michael Robinson, senior cornerback Alan Zemaitis and junior linebacker Paul Posluszny were elected the 2005 team captains recently.

Posluszny has a chance to be Penn State’s first two-time captain since Mike Reid and Steve Smear double dipped in 1968 and 1969.

"This team believes it can be good and has chosen three guys they rally around to get there," Coach Joe Paterno stated. "All three go hard in every practice, are great game players and solid students. They are strong minded individuals and will provide the leadership we need in practice, on and off the field."

The multi-talented Robinson spent all of spring practice working solely at quarterback and will be the Nittany Lions' top candidate entering pre-season camp. In the Blue-White Game, the former Varina High School standout was 6 of 6 for 143 yards and rushed for 23 yards on three carries with a touchdown in limited duty. The 6-2, 217-pound Robinson spent most of last season at wide receiver, making 33 receptions for a team-high 485 yards (14.7) and three scores. The out-going leader ran for 172 yards (3.5 avg.) and was 14 of 39 passing for 170 yards.

Robinson earned his degree in 3.5 years, graduating in advertising and public relations last December.

"It's a tremendous honor to know your teammates have so much faith in you," said Robinson. "We're looking forward to a great summer together and getting started."

Zemaitis and Posluszny were two integral members of Penn State's nationally ranked defense last season and will be expected to provide leadership for a unit that returns nine starters and welcomes back safety Chris Harrell, a starter in 2003.

In 2004, Penn State was the only team in the nation to not allow more than 21 points in a game, as the defense allowed just 14 touchdowns in 11 contests (1.27 avg.). The Nittany Lions were ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring defense (5th, 15.3 ppg), pass defense (6th, 162.3 ypg) and total defense (10th, 291.5 ypg), leading the Big Ten in scoring and pass defense and ranking second in total defense.

Zemaitis is a two-year starter and one of the conference's top cover corners, earning second team All-Big Ten honors in 2003 and '04. Last year, he made 47 tackles (35 solo), with one TFL, two interceptions and six pass break-ups. The former Central HS standout made three solo hits, had a pass break-up and an interception inside the PSU 10 in last year's win at Indiana and helped stop IU on first-and-goal from the PSU 1 in the last two minutes.

A journalism major, Zemaitis broke Penn State and Big Ten records in 2003 with his 207 interception return yards on four picks. He was selected to the Thorpe Award Watch List prior to last season and should be among the top candidates for the award this year.

Posluszny earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades in 2004 after becoming the first sophomore to lead Penn State in tackles since Phil Yeboah-Kodie in 1992. The 6-2, 229-pound Posluszny ranked sixth in Big Ten with 104 tackles (52 solo). He tied for the team lead with 12 tackles for loss per (minus-45 yards) and three sacks, and also forced one fumble, grabbed one interception and had three pass beak-ups. Posluszny made a career-high15 hits against Michigan State and returned an interception to set-up a touchdown in the 37-13 victory over the Spartans.

A former Pennsylvania Player of the Year from Hopewell High School, Posluszny will be a strong candidate for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors this season. He owned a 3.67 grade point average through the fall semester and earned Academic All-District honors in 2004. He is a finance major.

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