PSU's Posluszny Wins Butkus

"Linebacker U." has captured its second Butkus Award in the past six years, as Penn State junior Paul Posluszny won the 21st Butkus. The Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc. presents the prestigious award to the nation's top linebacker.

A first team All-American, Paul Posluszny was announced here tonight as the recipient at the Butkus Award Gala at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort.

"It's hard to explain what a great honor this is," Posluszny said from Orlando. "As a linebacker to win the Butkus Award that's the tops.

"It's been a great year for linebackers across the nation and to be recognized with this award, I'm just very surprised by this. One of the reasons why I came to Penn State was to try and continue the great legacy of 'Linebacker U'. This is hard to fathom."

Former Nittany Lion standout LaVar Arrington, an All-Pro player with the Washington Redskins, won the 1999 Butkus Award, giving Penn State two winners in the past six years. Like Posluszny, Arrington was a Western Pennsylvania prep standout before matriculating to Penn State.

Posluszny became the fifth underclassmen to win the Butkus in the 21-year history of the award. He joined Arrington, Chris Claiborne of USC (1998), Andy Katzenmoyer of Ohio State (1997), and Brian Bosworth of Oklahoma, the only two-time winner of the award (1984-85).

Posluszny was joined as a finalist for the Butkus Award by A.J. Hawk (Ohio State) and DeMeco Ryans (Alabama). The schools comprising the 2005 Butkus Award finalists also had the three finalists in 1986 in Nittany Lion All-American Shane Conlan, Alabama's Cornelius Bennett and Ohio State's Chris Spielman.

Proceeds from the Butkus Award Gala, silent auction and charity golf tournament benefit the DACO Foundation's College Scholarship.

It has been a special week for Posluszny, who has won two of the nation's most prestigious college football awards and been named to a pair of All-America teams. The Alquippa, Pa., standout was selected the recipient of the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented by the Maxwell Football Club to the nation's top defensive player, at Thursday's Home Depot College Football Awards.

Posluszny also was named to the Walter Camp All-America Team and the Cingular ABC Sports All-America Team, as selected by members of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

A finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award, in addition to winning the Butkus and Bednarik Awards, Posluszny is the seventh Nittany Lion to earn first team All-America and Academic All-America honors. Guard Jeff Hartings, an All-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the last in 1995. Posluszny is one of the squad's top students with a 3.67 grade point average in finance. He has made the Dean's List in each of his initial four of his semesters and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Posluszny is the 12th linebacker to earn first team All-America honors at "Linebacker U" under Coach Joe Paterno. He joins a group of former Penn State linebackers that includes: Dennis Onkotz, Jack Ham, Greg Buttle, Shane Conlan, LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short as first team All-Americans.

The former Hopewell High standout as been instrumental in the Nittany Lions' Big Ten championship season. He is fourth in the Big Ten with 111 tackles (60 solo). He trails only Tamba Hali with 11 tackles for losses (minus-38), has three sacks and two pass break-ups.

The first team All-Big Ten selection is only the fourth Nittany Lion to record 100 or more hits in consecutive seasons. He has 251 career tackles, tied with Hall of Famer Jack Ham, and needs less than 100 tackles to become school career leader.

Earlier this season, Posluszny became the first Big Ten student-athlete selected Football Player of the Week (Offense, Defense or Special Teams) three consecutive weeks since the conference began the selections in 1987.

Posluszny has been instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions lead the conference in pass efficiency defense (106.3 rating) and rank second in scoring (16.5 ppg), total (306. 5 ypg) and rushing defense (99.1 ypg) and sacks (38). Penn State is ranked in the top 20 nationally in all five categories.

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