What’s In A Name? For Penn State Football Players, Not Much

August 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm 1 comment

(c) Annemarie Mountz

(c) Bill Zimmerman

The Penn State football program’s decision to remove the names from its jerseys was received with a ton of enthusiasm, not just from fans and coaches, but from the players as well. Soon after the decision was announced, multiple players took to Twitter to express their approval, with offensive lineman Angelo Mangiro even penning a lengthy note that perfectly sums up the way many of the team’s older players reacted.

But as we found on Thursday during the team’s annual preseason media day, for some of the younger Lions, it wasn’t clear why this was such a big deal. Take sophomore defensive back Christian Campbell. The Alabama native wasn’t sure how to respond when he was made aware of the move, but says that the positive reaction by fans and alumni gave him a deeper understanding of the program’s rich tradition.

That sentiment was echoed by redshirt freshman linebacker and California native Koa Farmer. Like Campbell, he wasn’t as aware of Penn State tradition, although he did know about the iconic uniforms. So when told that the uniforms would be sans nameplates going forward, he respected the decision, which he called “old school.”

“It’s bigger than ourselves,” Farmer says. “It’s bigger than the name on the back, so there’s nothing I could have done to disrespect it.”

Even some players from the commonwealth had a hard time adjusting to the move. Take, for instance, redshirt freshman DB Daquan Worley. “The name on the back of the jersey, it meant something to my family, but in the bigger picture, this means something to everybody,” the Coatesville native says. “It means something to Adrian Amos ’14, who wore this number before me. I feel like I’m playing for him every time I step out on the field. When I get my chances, I feel like I’ve gotta make this number look good. I can’t let him down. It’s a pride thing, all the things that he taught me, trying to mentor me, I’ve got to show out for my big brother.”

The now-nameless Nittany Lions will kick off the 2015 season on Sept. 5 against Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. sherrysauerwine  |  August 6, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Glad to see the names removed. PSU fans know who the players are as do their families. Having no names on the uniforms makes it all about TEAM. It’s like the long, grey line at West Point — the uniforms stay the same, it’s just the men and women inside them that change — but they all uphold the same values that have been there from the beginning. Same with Penn State — the men change, the values stay the same as do the uniforms.

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