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Penn State Football All 105

Penn State All 105: ‘The Dominator’ is a Walk on No More

Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Dominic DeLuca (34) November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

All 105 is a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player. This edition will look at third-year LB Dom DeLuca.

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 213 pounds

Hometown: West Pittson, Pennsylvania 

Before Penn State: An in-state product, DeLuca was a three-time team captain and a quarterback at Wyoming Area High School. As a senior, he helped lead Wyoming to its first state championship, throwing two touchdowns in a 21-14 win over Central Valley. His senior year performance earned him multiple accolades, including Class 3A Player of the Year by the PA Football Writers. DeLuca also starred on defense, ending his career with 12 interceptions and 201 tackles. DeLuca’s performance in high school earned him a chance to walk on at Penn State.

2021: DeLuca redshirted his first season but got into three games on special teams, making his college debut in the team’s home opener against Ball State Week 2. DeLuca’s performance on the practice field earned him the Developmental Squad’s Defensive Player of the Year, an honor he shared with Jordan van den Berg and Jaden Seider.

2022: Still a walk-on, DeLuca took on an increased role in Year 2, playing in all 13 games, mainly on special teams. Defensively, he ended the season with 29 tackles (18 solo, two for loss and got his first college sack at Rutgers Nov. 19. Perhaps the best individual play of DeLuca’s season came against Minnesota Oct. 23, when he blocked a punt during Penn State’s White Out.

Where he stands: Penn State’s loaded at linebacker. Abdul Carter and Curtis Jacobs are expected to be one of America’s best LB duos, and Penn State also returns veterans Tyler Elsdon and Kobe King and has true freshman Tony Rojas, Ta’Mere Robinson and Kaveion Keys starting their college careers. But DeLuca gives Penn State more solid depth at linebacker and is also Penn State’s special teams captain, as announced by coach James Franklin after this year’s Blue-White Game.

Oh, and DeLuca’s now on scholarship, too.

A quote by DeLuca: “It shows that I’m here to play and I’m not going to have that walk-on mentality that everyone says. I mean, hopefully that put my name on the coach’s list and on everyone else’s list. I’m just gonna wait for my opportunity.” DeLuca to Mike Poorman of StateCollege.com at Penn State’s second-year player media availability in May 2022.

Fast forward to January 2023…

A quote about DeLuca: “Dom’s on f——— scholarship.” — James Franklin

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