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Nov. 7, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State All-America linebacker Dan Connor has been selected a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.
Connor, who last week became the Nittany Lions' career tackle leader with 379, was one of three finalists for the 2006 Bednarik, which was captured by teammate Paul Posluszny for the second consecutive year. The award was first presented in 1995 in honor of former Philadelphia Eagles standout Chuck Bednarik. Connor is among 15 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award.
Last year, "Linebacker U" became the first school to have a pair of Bednarik Award finalists in the 12 years the honor had been presented. Former Nittany Lion All-America linebacker LaVar Arrington also won the Bednarik Award in 1999.
Three finalists for the 2007 honor will be announced in early December and the winner of the Bednarik Award will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 6 on ESPN. The award will formally be presented at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner on March 7, 2008 at Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, N.J.
A native of Wallingford, Pa., Connor previously was named a semifinalist for the 2007 Butkus Award and the Rotary Lombardi Award and is a candidate for the Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy.
Connor recorded 11 tackles, with a tackle for loss, in last Saturday's 26-19 win over Purdue to pass Posluszny (372) and become Penn State's career tackle leader with 379.
The former Strath Haven High School All-American leads Penn State and is second in the Big Ten with 105 tackles (52 solo) for a 10.5 per game average. He is second on the team and sixth in the Big Ten with 12.0 TFL for minus-52 yards. Connor is second on the team with 5.0 sacks (minus-43). He also has a fumble recovery and six pass break-ups.
Connor made a career-high 18 tackles against Ohio State on Oct. 27, the most by a Nittany Lion since Posluszny had 22 hits at Northwestern in 2005. Connor's previous high was 16 tackles vs. Northwestern in 2004. He also grabbed an interception in Penn State territory and made one tackle for loss vs. the Buckeyes.
Connor has 18 career double digit tackle games.
In Penn State's 31-10 throttling of Notre Dame on Sept. 8, Connor recorded a game-high 12 tackles (8 solo) and was selected the Walter Camp Football Foundation's National Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He tallied 2.5 tackles for loss (minus-13), including a sack, and a pass break-up, as the Penn State defense held the Irish to no rushing yards, 144 total yards and nine first downs to the delight of the frenetic White House crowd of 110,078, second-largest in Beaver Stadium history at the time. The Big Ten honor was the third of Connor's career.
Coach Joe Paterno's No. 25 Nittany Lions (7-3) will visit Connor's hometown this Saturday, playing Temple at 12:00 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field. A crowd approaching 70,000 is expected, as Penn State plays in Philadelphia for the first time since 1994. The game will air on ESPNU, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics.