PHILADELPHIA - Senior captains Luke Nawrocki and Greg Van Roten will compete for a spot on an NFL roster this weekend, May 11-13. Nawrocki was invited to the San Francisco 49ers rookie mini-camp and Van Roten received an invitation from the San Diego Chargers. Nawrocki and Van Roten, who are both Chaminade High School products, joined senior linebacker and fellow 2011 team captain Erik Rask among the University of Pennsylvania football team's 2012 NFL signees.
All three captains from the 2011 team have now signed with an NFL team. Rask participated in the Jacksonville Jaguars rookie mini-camp from May 4-6. With the addition of the 2011 tri-captains, 19 players have signed NFL contracts during the tenure of current head coach Al Bagnoli. The last Quaker to sign an NFL deal was linebacker and long snapper, Jake Lewko, who did so with the Tennessee Titans in 2010.
Nawrocki was a three-time All-Ivy honoree as a tight end and started all 10 games for the Quakers in 2011. The Syosset, N.Y., native was fourth on the team with a career-high 20 receptions and 192 receiving yards, which included a fourth-quarter touchdown catch in the come-from-behind win over Yale on Oct. 22.
Nawrocki, who was also an instrumental run-blocker throughout his career in the Red and Blue, played in all but one game in his final three seasons - two of which culminated in undefeated Ivy League championships. He finished his career with 49 receptions - including a streak of 17 consecutive games with a reception - 464 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
For the last three years, Van Roten started every game for the Quakers on the offensive line. The 2011 unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection was forced to switch between the tackle and guard position midway through his senior season due to injuries along the line, but due to his versatility, Penn's offense did not miss a beat. The Quakers finished with third-best scoring offense in the Ivy League and allowed the third-fewest sacks in the league.
Van Roten, who was also an All-Ivy honoree as a sophomore (honorable mention) and junior (first team), anchored the top rushing and scoring offense in the Ivy League in 2010. That year, the Quakers finished with the sixth-best rushing attack in the FCS and the second-best rushing season in program history. In addition, Penn allowed the fewest sacks in the Ancient Eight in 2009 and 2010 en route to undefeated Ivy titles.
The three captains, along with the remaining 2011 Penn seniors finished their careers with a 28-12 record overall, including a 23-5 mark against the Ivy League. They won two Ivy League titles, were just the third team to ever put together back-to-back undefeated Ivy seasons, and won 18 consecutive Ivy League games - the second-longest streak in league history.