Posluszny, Connor Up for Bednarik

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; October 25, 2006 -- Penn State's Paul Posluszny, winner of the 2005 Bednarik Award, and Dan Connor are among the semifinalists for the 2006 honor, which is presented to the nation's top defensive player.

Members of arguably the nation's top linebacker unit, Posluszny and Connor are among 15 semifinalists for the prestigious honor, which is presented by The Maxwell Football Club. The award was first presented in 1994 in honor of former Philadelphia Eagles standout Chuck Bednarik.

Penn State is one of two schools that has two Bednarik Award semifinalists.

Three finalists will be announced in early December and the winner of the Bednarik Award will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 7 on ESPN. The award will formally be presented at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner on March 2, 2007 at Harrah's in Atlantic City, N.J.

Last year, Posluszny captured "Linebacker U's" second Bednarik Award, joining former All-American LaVar Arrington in 1999. Also the winner of the 2005 Butkus Award, Posluszny has already been announced as a semifinalist for the 2006 Butkus and Rotary Lombardi Awards.

The 2006 Pre-season Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Posluszny leads the Nittany Lions (third in Big Ten) with 70 tackles this season, including four tackles for losses, two sacks and two pass break-ups. He also forced a big fumble, which was returned by Tony Davis for a touchdown last week vs. Illinois.

A native of Aliquippa, Pa.. he is just the third Nittany Lion to record 300 career tackles and with 326 stops, is 18 away from breaking Greg Buttle's school career record.

A consensus All-American in 2005, Posluszny is coming off his best game of the season, as he recorded a season-high 13 tackles, including nine in the second half, and forced a fumble on a sack. For this efforts, he was selected Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for a conference record fifth time in his career.

The former Hopewell High School standout is Penn State's first two-time team captain since Mike Reid and Steve Smear in 1968-69.

Last year, Posluszny became just the fourth Nittany Lion to record 100 or more hits in consecutive seasons. He is the 12th linebacker to earn first team All-America honors at "Linebacker U" under Paterno, joining a group that includes: Dennis Onkotz, Jack Ham, Greg Buttle, Shane Conlan, Brandon Short and Arrington as first team All-Americans.

In 2005, Posluszny became the seventh Nittany Lion to earn first team All-America and Academic All-America honors in the same season. He is one of the squad's top students with a 3.56 grade point average in finance. He has made the Dean's List in five of his initial six semesters and is on schedule to graduate in December, in 3 1/2 years.

A junior, Connor is in his second season as a starter and is second on the squad and fourth in the Big Ten with 68 tackles. He is second on the team in tackles for losses with 7.5 for minus-36 yards and sacks with 4.0 for minus-30 yards. He also grabbed an interception against Ohio State, has forced a fumble and recorded a huge safety on sack in the end zone against Illinois.

The 2003 Parade Linebacker of the Year at Strath Haven High School, Connor recorded 12 tackles (8 solo), including the safety. He made a season-high 13 stops in the season opener with Akron, with career-highs with 3.5 TFL for minus-23 yards and two sacks, to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week accolades. Connor followed with 12 tackles at Notre Dame the following week.

In addition to Connor and Posluszny, the other semifinalists for the 2006 Bednarik Award are: Gaines Adams (Clemson), H.B. Blades (Pittsburgh), Mkristo Bruce (Washington State), Buster Davis (Florida State), Daymeion Hughes (California), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State), Quentin Moses (Georgia), Sam Olajubutu (Arkansas), Quinn Pitcock (Ohio State), Brandon Siler (Florida), Eric Weddle (Utah), Patrick Willis (Mississippi) and Lamar Woodley (Michigan).

Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions (5-3, 3-2) visit Purdue (5-3, 2-2) on Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:00 p.m. ET. ABC, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com will air the contest.


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