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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; June 21, 2007 -- Penn State All-America linebacker Dan Connor (Wallingford, Pa.) has been named to the Watch List for the 2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented to the nation??s top defensive player.
The Football Writers Association of America has presented the Nagurski Trophy annually since 1993 in honor of the former University of Minnesota standout. The Charlotte (N.C.) Touchdown Club hosts the awards dinner each December.
Connor is one of three players from Big Ten institutions on the Nagurski Watch List.
The 6-3, 233-pound Connor previously was named a pre-season first team All-American by Athlon Sports?? College Football 2007. Last season, he earned first team All-America honors from The Sporting News and was a second team Associated Press All-American. The former Strath Haven High School standout became the 13th linebacker to earn first team All-America honors at ??Linebacker U?? under Coach Joe Paterno.
Connor was fifth in the Big Ten with 113 tackles last season and has 274 career stops, 98 away from Paul Posluszny??s school record. He was a finalist for the 2006 Bednarik Award and should be among the top candidates for the Butkus, Bednarik, Rotary Lombardi, Lott and Nagurski awards this season.
Former Nittany Lion All-Americans LaVar Arrington and Courtney Brown were among the finalists for the 1999 Nagurski Trophy and All-America defensive end Tamba Hali was a finalist for the 2005 honor.
Coach Joe Paterno??s 42nd Penn State team returns 33 letterwinners and 15 starters for the 2007 season, which begins September 1 against Florida International (12:00 p.m., Big Ten Network) in Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions have a blockbuster 2007 home schedule that includes five bowl teams from 2006: Notre Dame (6:00 p.m., ESPN), Iowa (Oct. 6), Wisconsin (Oct. 13- Homecoming, 3:30 p.m., ABC), Ohio State (Oct. 27, 8:00 p.m., ABC, ESPN or ESPN2) and Purdue (Nov. 3). The Nittany Lions will host Buffalo on Sept. 15 for a 12:00 p.m. kick that will be televised by the Big Ten Network, which launches in August.