The 2006 recipient will be announced December 6 at a gala dinner, which benefits the American Cancer Society, to be held at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston.
Penn State All-America defensive tackle Bruce Clark won the Lombardi Award in 1978, becoming the first junior to win the honor. Besides Posluszny, Penn State's most recent Lombardi Award finalists were All-Americans LaVar Arrington and Courtney Brown in 1999.
"Our finalists dominate on the football field and stand as examples of hard work, discipline and support on their teams and in their communities," said E. Michelle Bohreer, General Chair of the 37th Rotary Lombardi Award Committee. "Those are the characteristics so valued and respected by Coach Lombardi."
The 2006 Pre-season Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Posluszny won the 2005 Butkus Award as the nation's premier linebacker and the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player. He has been named a semifinalist for both honors this season, as well as quarterfinalist for the Lott Trophy.
Posluszny is coming off one of his top performances of the season, recording a season-high 14 tackles at No. 17 Wisconsin to become Penn State's career tackles leader with 349. He passed All-America linebacker Greg Buttle (1973-75), who made 323 hits during his brilliant career. The 14-tackle effort vs. the Badgers was his 15th career double figure tackle game.
Posluszny leads the Nittany Lions and is third in the Big Ten with 93 tackles (57 solo) this season, including four tackles for losses, two sacks, one forced fumble and two pass break-ups.
With two regular season contests left to play, Posluszny is easily in range to become the first Nittany Lion to record 100 or more tackles in three seasons. A starter in the last 34 contests, he made 104 tackles in 2004 and 116 last season.
The former Hopewell High School standout also has an opportunity to become the first Nittany Lion to lead the team in tackles three consecutive years, since school tackle records began being kept in 1969.
On October 23, Posluszny was selected Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the fifth time in his career, a record for defensive players since the Big Ten began selecting Players of the Week in 1987. Former Nittany Lion All-American Courtney Brown, Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern) and Tyrone Carter (Minnesota) were four-time recipients.
Posluszny made a then-season-high 13 tackles in the 26-12 win over Illinois and forced a fumble that was returned for a score to earn conference honors. He made one of the game's biggest plays when he forced a fumble on a sack, with cornerback Tony Davis picking up the fumble and returning it for a touchdown to give Penn State a 17-9 lead midway through the third quarter. Posluszny had nine of his 13 tackles in the second half, as the defense sparked PSU's comeback from a 9-3 halftime deficit.
Posluszny 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: Buttle, Dennis Onkotz, Jack Ham, Shane Conlan, Brandon Short and Arrington as first team All-Americans.
Posluszny recently was named a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete, which provides $18,000 for post-graduate study. In 2005, he became the seventh Nittany Lion to earn first team All-America and ESPN The Magazine 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.
Founded in the weeks following the death of legendary football coach Vince Lombardi from cancer in 1970, the Rotary Lombardi Award presented by Wachovia Bank has annually delivered upon the mission set forth by Marie Lombardi when she first granted the use of her late husband's name. Her only stipulation was that all net proceeds from the event be donated to the American Cancer Society and over $3.1 million has been generated since that time.
This year's Rotary Lombardi Award is being presented by Wachovia Bank, which is in the second year of a two-year presentation sponsorship agreement with the Rotary Club of Houston Foundation to support the event and its fund raising component. Tables and individual tickets for the December 6 dinner are on sale through the Rotary Club of Houston office at 713-73-9936.
Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions host Temple on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. A limited number of tickets, returned by both schools, are available for the contests with Temple and Michigan State (Nov. 18, 12:00 p.m.). Tickets can be purchased at www.GoPSUsports.com or by calling 814-865-5555 or 800-863-3336 weekdays from 8 a.m-5 p.m. Tickets also can be purchased at the Bryce Jordan Ticket Center weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.