UNIVERSITY PARK - Penn State tight end Jesse James has been selected preseason All-Big Ten by Sporting News, which selected one all-conference team.
James enters his junior campaign as the team's leading returnee in receptions and receiving yards. The former South Allegheny High School standout made 25 catches for 333 yards and three touchdowns in 2013, starting every game. His 13.3-yard average was second only to All-America wideout Allen Robinson. James has made 18 starts in his initial two seasons, tied for fourth-highest on the squad.
Another Nittany Lion drawing attention from Sporting News is sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg. The 2013 Big Ten Thompson-Randel El Freshman of the Year and first-team true freshman All-American is rated by the publication as the conference's best passing quarterback. Hackenberg was 231 of 392 for 2,955 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season.
Juniors Kyle Carter and James were both named to the preseason John Mackey Award Watch List for the prestigious award that honors the nation's top collegiate tight end.
Penn State joined Oklahoma and Oregon as the only two schools with multiple selections to the 40-player preseason watch list.
The Mackey Award honors outstanding athletic prowess on the field, along with positive sportsmanship-like behavior, good academic standing & exceptional leadership abilities. The award recipient is determined by confidential balloting of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee, which is composed of respected members of the media and former NFL players.
Carter was tied for third on the team with 18 receptions for 222 yards and one game-winning touchdown. A strong and improved blocker and receiver, he was a mid-season candidate for the John Mackey Award, after being the only freshman on the award's mid-season watch list in 2012. The vastly talented and athletic Carter was a consensus Freshman All-American during the 2012 campaign.
Limited by an arm injury suffered in the 2013 season-opener against Syracuse, Carter did not miss a game for the Nittany Lions. He tied his career-high with six catches for a season-high 79 yards at Indiana, including a 26-yard catch to set up a score. Carter caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Illinois, a 15-yarder from Hackenberg in overtime.
The Nittany Lions open the season Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland.
Men's hockey releases schedule
The Penn State men's hockey team's 2014-15 schedule is now available after the release of the team's 16-game non-conference slate, head men's hockey coach Guy Gadowsky announced recently. In all, Penn State will play 36 regular-season games, including 18 at Pegula Ice Arena, during its third NCAA season.
Highlighting the non-conference slate are four games in three National Hockey League venues, including Penn State's first appearance at New York's Madison Square Garden, and its first trip outside the contiguous United States. Penn State, which will return to both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia for the third straight season, will also face their five Big Ten adversaries four times each during the 2014-15 campaign.
"After our first season in the Big Ten, the coaching staff and team are excited to see our continued growth as we enter the next chapter of Penn State Hockey," said Gadowsky. "The 2014-15 campaign will bring forth its own set of unique challenges, while the opportunity to continue our relationships in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and experience Madison Square Garden for the first time will give our alumni and fans the opportunity to witness Nittany Lion hockey on some of the biggest stages."
Newbill at James Skills Academy
It has been an eventful summer for the Penn State men's basketball team and senior guard D.J. Newbill.
After a successful showing at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy in Washington recently, the Big Ten's second-leading scorer received an invite to the LeBron James Skills Academy beginning today in Las Vegas.
The event features the Top 30 collegiate and Top 80 high school players from around the country and runs July 9-12. Players will have four days of competitive skills workouts and 5-on-5 games, taking what they learned at previous skills academies and showcasing it in a team setting.
Newbill finished last season leading the Nittany Lions in scoring with 17.8 points per game and was second in the conference in scoring en route to All-Big Ten and NABC All-District honors. The 2014 Team MVP also surpassed the 1,000-point mark and became the third Nittany Lion in program history to post back-to-back seasons with 500 points.
Lacrosse teams join Big Ten
Nearly 13 months after its initial announcement, the Big Ten Conference officially added men's and women's lacrosse recently.
The announcement recently corresponds with the formal inclusion of full-time members Maryland and Rutgers as the 13th and 14th Big Ten institutions. Both are lacrosse playing schools in men's and women's lacrosse along with Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. Johns Hopkins joins the men's contingent as a sport-affiliate member, while Northwestern rounds out the women's lineup.
Penn State men's lacrosse alumni Drew Adams and Greg Gurenlian will represent U.S. Lacrosse at the 2014 FIL World Championships it was announced recently. Their selections have two Penn Staters on the 23-man U.S. team for a World Championships for the first time.
Cagle named tennis coach
Chris Cagle has been named the head coach of the Penn State women's tennis team. Cagle served as interim head coach this past year, beginning in December. Cagle was an assistant coach with the Penn State men's tennis program prior to his appointment as interim mentor of the women's team.
Cagle led an extremely young Penn State team through a solid 2013-14 year that saw a team dominated by youth (10 of the Nittany Lions' 13 players were freshmen or sophomores) pick up Big Ten wins over both Wisconsin and Nebraska. Cagle was in his third season as a Penn State assistant men's tennis coach under head coach Jeff Zinn before moving over as interim mentor of the women's squad.
"I am unbelievably excited to have the opportunity to lead the Penn State women's tennis program into the future," Cagle said. "I would like to thank Dr. Dave Joyner, Charmelle Green and the entire search committee in believing in me and my vision for our program in the coming years."