Round 1: Arrington vs. Bauer

Welcome to the opening round of the Penn State Linebacker U. Tournament, where we take the 16 greatest 'backers of the Joe Paterno era and have them square off in one-on-one battles (elections). We kick off the tournament with a showdown between two of the nastiest hombres ever to don the Blue and White — No. 3 seed LaVar Arrington and No. 14 seed Trey Bauer.

The following profiles are provided by FOS and (where applicable) the Penn State Football Encyclopedia, which was written by PSU sports historian Lou Prato. Prato also handled the seeding for this tournament.


An amazing, if brief, Penn State career helped Arrington “leap” toward the top of the seedings for this tournament. The Pittsburgh native won the Butkus and Bednarik Awards as a junior in 1999 (the first Lion to capture either). He was also named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year that same season. He opted for early entry into the NFL Draft and was the second overall pick in 2000. Arrington inexplicably saw little game action as a true freshman at Penn State, but still finished his short career with 163 tackles, 39 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. Perhaps the best all-around athlete on this list (or in the history of the program, regardless of position), he receives demerits for never playing on a team that contended for a national title.

NO. 14 TREY BAUER (1984-87)

Bauer was an emotional leader on the great Penn State defense that helped the Nittany Lions win the national title in 1986. Played mean and nasty on the field and had a fiery temperament that often got him in trouble with Paterno. In pre-game before the 1987 Fiesta Bowl clash with Miami, the Hurricanes attempted to intimidate the Nittany Lions by running through their warm-up lines. Bauer responded by firing a football at one of the Miami players, setting a tone that there would be no backing down. But he also had a knack for making clutch plays in key situations, recovering a fumble to help preserve a win over No. 1 Maryland in 1985 and intercepting a pass to help beat the Terps in 1986. Finished his career with 256 tackles, 176 of them solos, and earned third-team All-America honors as a senior in 1987.

So who was the better Penn State linebacker, Arrington or Bauer? Cast your vote on our audibles board. Audibles Board.

You can also check out the entire 16-man bracket at this link.


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