Posluszny in Butkus Hunt

Penn State outside linebacker Paul Posluszny has been selected a semifinalist for the 21st Butkus Award. The award is presented to the nation's top linebacker.

The 6-2, 234-pound Paul Posluszny is one of 10 semifinalists for the prestigious honor, which was won by Nittany Lion All-American LaVar Arrington in 1999. Three finalists will be selected on November 10 and the winner will be announced December 10 at the Butkus Award Gala in Orlando, Fla. Posluszny is one of only two juniors on the list, along with Florida State’s Ernie Sims.

Earlier this week, Posluszny was named one of 12 finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented to the nation's premier lineman or linebacker. This week he also has been selected a midseason All-American by CBS Sportsline.com and collegefootballnews.com, joining his previous selection by SI.com. CBS Sportsline.com named the All-America candidate as the midseason favorite for the Butkus Award.

The newest addition to Penn State's "Linebacker U" legacy, Posluszny became the first Big Ten student-athlete to be selected a football player of the week three consecutive times in any of the categories in which football honors are selected (offense, defense and special teams). The Big Ten began selecting football players of the week in 1987.

The first junior to be elected a team captain since 1968, Posluszny leads the Nittany Lions with 82 tackles to rank third in the Big Ten and 11th in the nation at 11.7 tackles per game. He has 6.5 tackles for loss (minus-24), two sacks and two pass break-ups.

Posluszny made a career-high 22 stops in the Lions' 34-29 comeback win at Northwestern on Sept. 24 for his first Big Ten honor this season. The 22 hits are the second-highest for any player in the nation, trailing only the 25 stops by Northwestern's Tim McGarigle vs. Wisconsin. The former Hopewell High School standout recorded 14 stops in PSU's 17-10 win over Ohio State on Oct. 8, including a big 10-yard sack on OSU's next-to-last possession.

Against Michigan last Saturday, the Academic All-America candidate (3.67 GPA in finance) recorded a game-high 11 stops to lead the Lions in hits for the fifth time this year.

Posluszny previously was selected Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and earned conference accolades after posting nine tackles, tied for the team lead in the 44-14 win over No. 18 Minnesota on Oct. 1.

The Butkus Award has been presented annually since 1985 by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando and carries the name of one of the greatest linebackers in collegiate and professional football history, Dick Butkus.

In 1999, Penn State became the first school to have two finalists for the Butkus Award, with winner Arrington and senior All-American Brandon Short. Penn State All-Americans Shane Conlan and Andre Collins also were Butkus Award finalists during their standout careers.

2005 Butkus Award Semifinalists:

Paul Posluszny, Penn State

Chad Greenway, Iowa

Aaron Harris, Texas

Spencer Havner, UCLA

A.J. Hawk, Ohio State

D'Qwell Jackson, Maryland

Tim McGarigle, Northwestern

A.J. Nicholson, Florida State

DeMeco Ryans, Alabama

Ernie Sims, Florida State

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