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Oct. 21, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - Penn State's Sean Lee has been selected as one of 16 semifinalists for the 25th annual Dick Butkus Award®, an honor presented to the nation's top linebacker by the Butkus Foundation.
After missing the 2008 season with a knee injury, Lee returned to the field with a vengeance, recording 32 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, and two sacks during the first three games of this season. But, a knee sprain suffered in the win over Temple forced him to miss the Iowa, Illinois, and Eastern Illinois games.
With two stops against Minnesota, Lee moved into an eighth place tie with Brandon Short on the Penn State career tackles list with 273 and is two shy of overtaking John Skorupan and Shane Conlan for sixth place. Dennis Onkotz is fifth with 287 tackles.
A team co-captain, the former Upper St. Clair High School standout also is a candidate for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Lee has helped Penn State emerge as the nation's only defensive unit to be ranked in the top 15 nationally in all six of the primary statistical categories. Penn State leads the Big Ten in: scoring (8.71 ppg), rushing yards per game (75.4 avg.), passing yards per game (163.4 avg) and total defense (238.9 ypg), tackles for losses (59, 8.4 avg.) and sacks (21, 3.0 avg.) defense.
The Nittany Lions are ranked in the yop 15 nationally in all the primary defense statistical categories: scoring (2nd), rushing (6th), passing (14th) and total defense (5th), as well as tackles for losses (7th) and sacks (T 11th).
Penn State boasts two Butkus Award® winners in LaVar Arrington (1999) and Paul Posluszny (2005). The list of other Nittany Lion finalists for the honor reads like a roll call of all-time "Linebacker U" greats, including Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor (2007).
The Butkus Award® is selected by a 51-person panel comprised of scouts, coaches, and journalists. Finalists for the Butkus Award® will be announced on Nov. 19 and the winner will be notified by Dec. 8. The 2009 recipient will be presented with the award in January, 2010.
Considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Dick Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979 following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears and into College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
Coach Joe Paterno and the No. 13 Nittany Lions (6-1, 2-1) will travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan (5-2, 1-2) on Saturday. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ABC and on ESPN outside of the ABC coverage area. The clash also will air on the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com.