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John Cappelletti

Running Back

John Raymond Cappelletti

Inducted 1993

Date of Birth



Philadelphia, PA


Pennsylvania State University (1971-1973)


John Cappelletti was a defensive back in 1971, a running back in 1972-1973. Penn State's record in those years was 11-1, 10-2, 12-0. In 1973, Cappelletti scored 17 touchdowns and rushed for 1522 yards. He averaged 5.3 yards a try. In successive games against Maryland, North Carolina State, Ohio University, his rushing totals were 202, 220, 204. He was unanimous All-America, won the Heisman and Maxwell Awards, was named Player of the Year by ABC, UPI, the Washington Touchdown Club, the Camp Foundation, and Amateur Athlete of the Year by Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. In his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech, Cappelletti said his career was inspired by love for his kid brother, Joey, age 11, who was seriously ill with leukemia. He said, "If I can dedicate this trophy to him tonight and give him a couple days of happiness, that is worth everything." Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was to follow with a closing prayer. He simply said, "There is no need for a benediction. God has already blessed you with John Cappelletti." Brother Joey died April, 1976. A TV movie, "Something for Joey," was produced later that year, and it featured John's speech at the Heisman.


Height 6'1

Weight 206

Career Highlights

  • 1973 Heisman Trophy Winner
  • 1973 Unanimous All-America
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