Kapinos, Connor, Poz Up for Honors

Penn State's Paul Posluszny (Aliquippa, Pa.), winner of the 2005 Chuck Bednarik Award, and teammate Dan Connor (Wallingford, Pa.) have been selected finalists for the 2006 honor, which is presented to the nation's top defensive player. Jeremy Kapinos is a Ray Guy Award finalist for the nation's top punter.

Both Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor are joined by Michigan defensive end LaMarr Woodley as finalists for the prestigious honor, which is presented by The Maxwell Football Club. The award was first presented in 1995 in honor of former Philadelphia Eagles standout Chuck Bednarik.

Penn State is the first program to have a pair of Bednarik Award finalists in the 12 years the honor has been presented. Former Nittany Lion All-America linebacker LaVar Arrington won the Bednarik Award in 1999.

The winner of the Bednarik Award will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 7 on ESPN (7-9 p.m.). The award will formally be presented at the Maxwell Football Club's 70th Annual Awards Dinner on March 2, 2007 at Harrah's in Atlantic City, N.J.

A starter in the last 36 games, Posluszny is the school's career tackle leader (364) and the first Nittany Lion to earn three 100-tackle seasons. He has 108 takedowns (65 solo), with 7.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and four pass break-ups. He has led team in tackles eight times this season, including the last three games, and has an opportunity to become the first Penn Stater to lead the team in tackles three consecutive years.

Posluszny was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for a conference record fifth time in his career after making 13 tackles and forcing a fumble against Illinois. He made a season-high 14 hits in a 13-3 loss at Wisconsin. Posluszny is also a finalist for the Lombardi, Butkus and Lott honors.

Junior 'backer Connor is in his second season as a starter and is second on the squad and fourth in the Big Ten with 103 tackles. He is tied for second on team with 8.5 TFL, is tied for third with 5.0 sacks (minus-39), leads with three forced fumbles (sixth in Big Ten), has two interceptions and one big safety on a sack vs. Illinois.

Jeremy Kapinos is one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award honoring the best punter in the nation. The winner will be announced on the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 7 in Orlando, Fla.

The other finalists for the honor are Georgia Tech's Durant Brooks and Baylor's Daniel Sepulveda.

A four-year starter, Kapinos is Penn State's career leader in punts (247) and punting yardage (10,326). His 41.8 career average is tied for second at Penn State and he owns four of the top seven game averages in school history.

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