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Oct. 18, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - All-America linebacker Dan Connor (Wallingford) has been selected a semifinalist for the 23rd annual Butkus Award®. The Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc. (DACO) presents the prestigious award to the nation's top linebacker.
Connor's selection gives "Linebacker U" a Butkus Award® semifinalist for the third consecutive year. Two-time All-American Paul Posluszny won the 2005 Butkus Award® and was one of three finalists for the 2006 honor. Former Nittany Lion standout and All-Pro LaVar Arrington won the 1999 Butkus Award®, which is named in honor of former Illinois and Chicago Bears NFL Hall of Fame member, Dick Butkus.
Finalists for the 2007 Butkus Award® will be announced on November 9 and the winner will be named in December in Orlando, Fla. Proceeds from the Butkus Award® Gala, silent auction and charity golf tournament benefit the DACO Foundation's College Scholarship.
Selected a 2006 first team All-American by The Sporting News and a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, Connor is one of the nation's top defensive players. He was named a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award on Wednesday.
A three-year starter, Connor made 12 tackles last week in Penn State's 38-7 win over No. 19 Wisconsin to move into second place on the school career tackles list with 344, passing Greg Buttle (343; 1973-75). Connor had 1.5 TFL, with a sack, vs. the Badgers. He has moved within 29 tackles of breaking Posluszny's school record of 372 hits.
Connor is fourth in the Big Ten with 70 tackles (38 solo) for a 10.0 per game average. He is second on the team and tied for fifth in the Big Ten with 10.0 TFL for minus-49 yards. The former Strath Haven High School standout is second on the team and tied for eighth in the Big Ten with 5.0 sacks (minus-43). Connor also has a fumble recovery and five pass break-ups.
A candidate for the Bednarik, Butkus, Rotary Lombardi and Lott awards, the "Linebacker U" standout has 16 career double-digit tackle games.
Connor recorded a game-high 12 tackles (8 solo) to lead the Nittany Lions to a 31-10 throttling of Notre Dame on Sept. 8 and was selected the Walter Camp Football Foundation's National Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. The Big Ten honor was the third of Connor's career.
In addition to Connor, the other players who were selected semifinalists for the 2007 Rotary Lombardi Award are: linebackers Xavier Adibi (Virginia Tech), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State) and J Leman (Illinois); offensive tackles Sam Baker (USC) and Jake Long (Michigan); defensive ends Calais Campbell (Miami), Chris Long (Virginia) and George Selvie (South Florida); defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (LSU); center Alex Mack (California) and offensive lineman Duke Robinson (Oklahoma). Four finalists for the 38th Rotary Lombardi Award will be in announced in early November.
No. 25 Penn State (5-2, 2-2) visits Indiana (5-2, 2-2) Saturday in a critical Big Ten contest. The game will kick at 12:00 p.m. ET and air on ESPN, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.