Earlier today, Kyle Flood announced captains for the 2014 season (Burton, Hamilton, Milewski, Nova, and Waters). But the September 13 tilt against Penn State will feature special individuals serving that role: Eric LeGrand and Adam Taliaferro will be honorary captains for Rutgers' inaugural Big Ten conference game. Both players suffered spinal cord injuries on the field of play, but perhaps both are more famous for their actions that came afterward.
LeGrand has been an icon of perseverance and hope since his injury during a routine special teams play in October 2010, and has given special meaning to the word "believe." His number 52 jersey is the only number to ever be retired in the 145-year history of Rutgers football, and he has become an ambassador to the entire world for not only Rutgers football, but Rutgers University.
Taliaferro's story of recovery has become an inspiration for Eric. The former cornerback ruptured a vertebrae and bruised his spinal cord while making a tackle during a game against Ohio State in September 2000. Taliaferro was only given a 3% chance to ever walk again, but after eight months of rehab, he was able to achieve that goal.
With a sure-to-be sellout crowd for the game, it should be a great scene before the 8 PM kickoff. Here are some of the reactions on twitter:
Very cool. RT @DDuggan21: Rutgers announces that Eric LeGrand and Adam Taliaferro will serve as honorary captains for Penn State game.— Steve Politi (@StevePoliti) August 12, 2014
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Great idea to have <a href="https://twitter.com/EricLeGrand52">@EricLeGrand52</a> and Adam Taliaferro as game captains for Rutgers-PSU. Our BTN pregame show will be on site - can't wait.</p>— Dave Revsine (@BTNDaveRevsine) <a href="https://twitter.com/BTNDaveRevsine/statuses/499292882252337153">August 12, 2014</a></blockquote>
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We've had plenty of back and forth from our own community here on OtB and Nittany Lion fans, but I think both fanbases will agree that this is a truly great move that everyone can get behind. Can't wait for football.