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Dec. 17, 2007
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; - Penn State linebacker Dan Connor has been selected a first team All-American by ESPN.com, earning his third first team recognition for the 2007 campaign.
ESPN.com selected just one All-America team. The Associated Press and Walter Camp Football Foundation previously recognized Connor (Wallingford) as a first team All-American and he was a second-team choice by The Sporting News and SI.com.
Also, Pro Football Weekly has named junior linebacker Sean Lee (Pittsburgh) a first-team All-American. Connor and sophomore defensive end Maurice Evans (Brooklyn, N.Y.) were honorable mention selections by PFW, which picked one All-America team.
Recipient of the 2007 Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player, Connor is Penn State's 91st first team All-America selection and the 14th Nittany Lion to earn first team All-America honors twice. He earned first team All-America honors from The Sporting News in 2006.
Connor has joined Dennis Onkotz (1968-69), Shane Conlan (1985-86), LaVar Arrington (1998-99) and Paul Posluszny (2005-06) as Nittany Lion linebackers that have earned first team All-America accolades twice. A senior tri-captain, Connor is the 74th first-team All-America selection under Coach Joe Paterno. At least one Nittany Lion has been named an All-American in 37 of the 42 seasons Paterno has served as head coach.
The Nittany Lions' career tackle leader with 410 hits, Connor was one of three finalists for the 2007 Butkus Award, presented to the nation's top linebacker. He also was a semifinalist for Walter Camp Player of the Year and the Rotary Lombardi Award.
A native of Wallingford, Pa., Connor leads Penn State and the Big Ten with 136 tackles (66 solo) for an 11.3 per game average that ranks No. 7 in the nation. His 136 tackles are No. 4 on the school season list. He is second on the team and 10th in the Big Ten with 14.0 TFL for minus-61 yards. Connor is second on the team and 10th in the conference with 6.5 sacks (minus-50). He also has one interception, one fumble recovery and six pass break-ups.
The former Strath Haven High School All-American has 20 career double digit tackle games, including eight this season. He became the Nittany Lions' career tackle leader against Purdue on Nov. 3, passing Posluszny, who made 372 stops from 2003-06. Connor made a career-high 18 tackles against Ohio State and Temple this season and twice was named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.
A two-year starter, Lee also has had a tremendous season for "Linebacker U." He has 124 tackles, good for third in the Big Ten and No. 8 on the Penn State season list. He has recorded 9.5 tackles for losses, 3.5 sacks (minus-23), forced three fumbles, recovered three fumbles, grabbed an interception and made seven pass break-ups. Lee is tied for No. 1 in the Big Ten in fumble recoveries and is tied for fifth in fumbles forced. The former Upper St. Clair High School standout has recorded double figures in tackles in nine of the last 10 games, topped by a career-high 17 at Illinois.
Lee was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice this season and earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honors.
Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions (8-4) will face Texas A&M (7-5) in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Nittany Lions' second Alamo Bowl appearance is Saturday, Dec. 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET in the The Alamodome in San Antonio. Penn State will be playing in its 34th bowl game under Paterno, who is the all-time leader in bowl appearances and wins (22-10-1 record).
Penn State's remaining tickets for the Valero Alamo Bowl can be ordered via www.GoPSUsports.com, the official website of Penn State Athletics. Fans also can purchase tickets by calling (814) 865-5555 or (800) 863-3336.