In the 31 years the Jim O'Hora Award has been presented to the defense's most improved player in spring drills, the coaching staff has recognized only a handful of linebackers. Walker Lee Ashley, Andre Collins and Keith Goganious are among the linebackers who have earned the honor, each of whom has had highly successful careers with the Nittany Lions and professionally. Entering his redshirt junior season, linebacker Dontey Brown aspires to become a bigger factor for the defense after earning the 2006 O'Hora Award. A two-time all-state selection, Brown played in every game last season and had an opportunity to be a bigger contributor for one of the top linebacker units in the nation. The talented and productive unit should again be among the nation's best this season. Brown finished spring drills as the top reserve at middle linebacker to senior Dan Connor, who was an All-America OLB last year. Brown brings good athleticism, instincts and strength to the defense and should have an opportunity to be a bigger contributor this season. Brown hails from McKeesport HS, which also produced Brandon Short, an All-America linebacker for the Nittany Lions from 1995-99. Brown and redshirt freshman Travis McBride were high school teammates. A tough player with a nose for the ball, Brown is one of 13 returning Nittany Lions from Western Pennsylvania.
2006 Junior Season
Playing in every game, Brown was one of the squad's top players on the special teams and earned more time on defense. He was the top reserve to two-time All-America middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. Brown recorded five tackles, with a season-high three stops (two solo) against Youngstown State and two solo hits against Temple. He saw action on 100 snaps, with a season-high 24 plays in both the Youngstown State and Temple games.
2005 Sophomore Season
In his first season on the field, Brown played in eight games on defense and special teams and recorded seven tackles (four solo). He made a season-high three stops at lllinois and had two hits each against Central Michigan and Minnesota. Brown was on the field for 55 snaps, with 30 coming in the win at Illinois.
2004 Freshman Season
Redshirt season. Brown had one tackle in the 2005 Blue-White game.
A two-year starter and team captain at McKeesport HS, Brown was a first-team all-state pick as a senior after earning second-team honors as a junior. Among his high school accolades were: twice an all-conference pick, all-district, all-region and winner of the team's Most Valuable Lineman Award. Brown also was the McKeesport Daily News Defensive Player-of-the-Year as well as the Champions Live Defensive Player-of-the-Year. He had 93 tackles, four sacks and two fumble recoveries as a senior, helping lead Coach George Smith's team to the Western Pennsylvania District Class AAAA West title. Brown ended his career with 243 tackles, 12 sacks and an interception. He was selected first-team all-conference by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and was a member of the Post-Gazette Fabulous 22, Tribune-Review Terrific 25, and the Harrisburg Patriot-News Platinum 33. Brown played in the 2004 Big 33 Classic.
Full name is Dontey Ray Brown. He is the son of Ken and Pamela Brown and has an older brother, Ken. He is enrolled in recreation, park and tourism management. Brown lists weightlifting and video games among his hobbies. Born August 1, 1986.