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Nov. 14, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior All-America linebacker Dan Connor has been selected one of 15 "Players to Watch" for the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year.
Connor is one of four defensive players who are among the semifinalists and one of only two players from Big Ten Conference schools. The five finalists for the award will be announced on November 27.
The 2007 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient will be announced live on the 6:00 p.m. edition of ESPN's SportsCenter on Thursday, December 6. The winner will be honored at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on Saturday, January 12, 2008 at the Yale University Commons in New Haven. Tickets are available by calling (203) 288-CAMP.
Penn State's career tackle leader with 397, Connor is one of three finalists for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation's top linebacker. He also is a semifinalist for the Bednark Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player, and is a candidate for the Nagurski and Lott Trophies and was a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award. A 2006 All-American, Connor was a finalist for the 2006 Bednarik Award.
Earlier this week, Connor was selected the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. He is the is first defensive player to earn accolades more than once in the same season from the Walter Camp Football Foundation during the four years the organization has sponsored the program
Playing near his hometown of Wallingford, Pa., Connor tied his career-high with 18 tackles, with 1.5 sacks, to lead Penn State to a 31-0 win at Temple last Saturday. He made 11 solo stops and had 10 tackles in the first quarter to set the tone for another superb defensive performance. He posted his 19th career double figure tackle game.
Connor led a Penn State defense that recorded its second shutout this season and fourth shut out in the past 17 games. Over the past 17 games, 12 Nittany Lion opponents have been shut out, held to field goals or only one offensive touchdown.
The Nittany Lions held Temple to four rushing yards on 23 carries, recording four sacks, and limited Temple to 3 of 14 on third down conversions. In the second half, Penn State permitted only 48 total yards and forced four punts, including three 3-and-outs.
Connor leads the Big Ten with 123 tackles (63 solo). He has 13.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks for minus-50 yards, one interception, one fumble recovery and six pass break-ups. The former Strath Haven High School All-American is ninth in the nation in tackles and sixth in the conference in minus-yardage plays.
Connor is "Linebacker U's" all-time tackle leader with 397. His 123 stops this season rank No. 7 on the Penn State season list with two games to play.
The other semifinalists for the Walter Camp Player of the Year are: Colt Brennan, Hawaii; Chase Daniel, Missouri; Dennis Dixon, Oregon; Glenn Dorsey, LSU; Matt Forte, Tulane; James Laurinaitis, Ohio State; Darren McFadden, Arkansas; Ray Rice, Rutgers; Matt Ryan, Boston College; George Selvie, South Florida; Kevin Smith, UCF; Aqib Talib, Kansas; Tim Tebow, Florida and Patrick White, West Virginia.
Coach Joe Paterno's No. 22 Nittany Lions (8-3, 4-3) conclude the regular season Saturday at Michigan State (6-5, 2-5). Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET in the battle for the Land Grant Trophy. The game will air regionally on ABC, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com. Markets not receiving the game on their ABC affiliate will receive it on ESPN.