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There are times when Bani Gbadyu probably can't fathom how much the second half of his young life has changed from the uncer tainty and challenges of the first. Bor n in war-tor n Liberia, Bani, his father and brother escaped the revolution and pover ty, taking a boat across the Atlantic to the United States when he was 10. They had family already living in the Gaithersburg, Md., area, so after ar riving in New York City, that's where they eventually settled. The multi-talented and athletic Gbadyu worked his way to become a first-team all-state selection at Quince Orchard HS and has been a productive contributor for the Nittany Lions the past three seasons. A fifth-year senior, he is one of the most experienced players on the defense and should be among the primar y challengers for a star ting assignment at "Linebacker U." His ef for ts to become a full-time star ter were bolstered in the spring, when the coaching staf f selected Gbadyu as recipient of the 2010 Jim O'Hora Award, presented to the defense's most improved player. A highly-skilled and instinctive player, he has worked hard to emerge as a contributor for the defense and special teams and has eight career star ts. The strong and mobile Gbadyu is the second Nittany Lion in the last decade to have matric- ulated to Nittany Valley from Liberia, joining Tamba Hali, who ear ned All-America honors in helping Penn State win the 2005 Big Ten Championship. Gbadyu is one of 10 retur ning Nittany Lions from Maryland.
Gbadyu saw action in all 13 games, earning five starts, on defense and special teams. He ranked seventh on the squad with 37 tackles, the highest total among players that did not start at least half the games. He also had 0.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a pass breakup in con- tributing to Penn State's Top 10 defense. Gbadyu was thrust into the starting lineup against Iowa, when Sean Lee suffered a sprained knee the week prior, and he responded with seven tackles. The contest against the Hawkeyes would mark the first of five consecutive star ts for Gbadyu and he made the most of the oppor tunity. He recorded a career-high eight hits in the win at Illinois and made five stops and forced a fumble in the 35-10 victory at Michigan. Gbadyu also made six tackles in the win over Temple. He played on 374 snaps, led by 53 and 51 in the wins at Michigan State and Illinois, respectively.
2008 Junior Season
Playing in 10 games, Gbadyu started the first three contests at outside linebacker. He made 25 tackles, three of which were for minus-six yards, grabbed one interception and knocked down another pass. In his first career start, he made three tackles and grabbed his first career interception against Coastal Carolina. Gbadyu made four stops in the 45-14 win over Oregon State. He made a career-high five tackles each against Temple and in the 46-17 win over Michigan. He also recorded 1.5 tackles for loss against the Wolverines. He missed the Ohio State and Iowa games with a slight injury, but returned to help the Nittany Lions beat Indiana and Michigan State to clinch the Big Ten crown. He saw action on 226 snaps, led by 30 against the Beavers.
2007 Sophomore Season
Gbadyu played in every game on defense and special teams, recording six tackles. He made a season-high three tackles at Michigan State, a solo stop against Buffalo and a punishing solo hit at Temple. He saw action on 133 plays, led by 23 at Michigan State. He earned a 3.56 grade-point average during the 2008 spring semester for Dean's List recognition.
2006 Freshman Season
Gbadyu was a first-team all-state selection and team captain at Quince Orchard HS. Playing for Coach Dave Mencarini, he earned Washington Post All-Met honors during his senior season. As a junior and senior, he received first-team all-county and all-conference accolades, playing safety, linebacker, defensive end and running back. He was injured for a portion of his senior season, but ran for 860 yards and 16 touchdowns and made 65 tackles and forced five fumbles. As a junior, he had 78 tackles, 15 sacks and three fumble recoveries. He was instrumental in Quince Orchard winning a pair of 4A West championships.
Full name is Bani Gbadyu. He is the son of Digoa Gbadyu and has a brother, Emmanuel. He is majoring in human development and family studies. In his free time, Gbadyu enjoys music, playing video games and watching movies. Born August 31, 1987 in Liberia.
Gbadyu's 2008 Game-by-Game
Tackles (Total-Solo-Assists) Coastal Carolina 3-1-2; Oregon State 4-1-3; Syracuse 1-0-1; Temple 5-3-2; Illinois 1-0-1; Purdue 3-2-1; Wisconsin 2-2-0; Michigan 3-2-1; Ohio State-INJ; Iowa-INJ; Indiana 1-0-1; Michigan State 2-1-1; USC-DNP.