#54 James Van Fleet
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Team: Penn State|
Hometown: Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock
"Linebacker U." has several jersey numbers that are etched into the heart, soul and minds of Nittany
Nation. The No. 31 worn by Shane Conlan and Paul Posluszny quickly comes to mind, as does No. 11,
worn by LaVar Arrington and Navorro Bowman. And Josh Hull firmly upheld the tradition of the No. 43
worn by Andre Collins and Brandon Short. But, what about No. 54? Standout linemen Bruce Clark and
Marco Rivera give the number great lineage and linebacker Jamie Van Fleet has made the opposition and
fans take notice of No. 54. The determined and hard-working Van Fleet completed one of the biggest
plays of last season when he alertly scooped up a blocked Indiana punt and returned it 21 yards for his
first collegiate touchdown. The play gave Penn State the lead for good in the third quarter as the
partisan FedEx Field crowd roared its approval en route to a 41-24 Nittany Lion win. A talented and
instinctive athlete from Loyalsock HS, Van Fleet has played in every game the past two seasons and has
been a strong and effective contributor in the kicking game. He continues to demonstrate great effort
and improvement in his bid to play a larger role for the defense and special teams. A Dean's List
student, he owned a 3.40 cumulative grade-point average after the spring semester and garnered
Academic All-Big Ten honors last fall. Van Fleet is a potential CoSIDA Academic All-America candidate.
He is among 30 returning Nittany Lions from Central and Eastern Pennsylvania.|
2010 Junior Season
Van Fleet appeared in all 13 games at linebacker and is one of the squad's most productive special
teams players. Van Fleet completed one of the biggest plays of the season when he scooped up an
Indiana punt, blocked by Andrew Dailey, and returned it 21 yards to give Penn State the lead for good in
the third quarter in the win at FedEx Field. The score was the first of his Nittany Lion career. Van Fleet
made 11 tackles, seven solo, during the season. He recorded three hits each against Youngstown State
and Illinois. He notched two solo tackles in the 41-24 win over Indiana. Van Fleet was on the field for
183 snaps, topped by 24 plays at Iowa and 19 against Florida in the 2011 Outback Bowl. He earned
Academic All-Big Ten accolades.
2009 Sophomore Season
Van Fleet was a strong and steady contributor on special teams. He played in every game and had five
tackles. Van Fleet saw action on 85 snaps during the 2009 campaign, led by 14 against Temple. He
made three solo stops on nine special teams plays in the win at Northwestern and had solo tackles
against Akron and Temple.
2008 Freshman Season
A two-year captain and all-state selection, Van Fleet played for Coach Richard Delaney at Loyalsock HS.
He received CSC Linebacker-of-the-Year, team MVP and ESPN 1050 Linebacker/Defensive Player-of-
the-Year honors his senior year. Van Fleet recorded 156 tackles and seven sacks his senior season,
helping his team become the winningest squad in school history.
Full name is James Mackenzie Van Fleet. He is the son of Duane and Susan Van Fleet. He has three older
siblings, Justin, Kyle, and Alison, and two younger sisters, Kayla and Sarah. His father played football at
East Stroudsburg University. His brother, Justin, played at Susquehanna and Kyle played at Georgetown.
Van Fleet enjoys hunting and fishing. He is enrolled in landscape contracting in the College of
Agricultural Sciences. A Dean's List student, he owned a 3.40 cumulative grade-point average after the
spring semester. Born April 1, 1990 in Williamsport, Pa.