Linebacker Paul Posluszny has joined an elite group of Penn State student-athletes with his selection as the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American of the Year in Division I football.
The senior standout was selected the Academic All-American of the Year for the University Division in voting by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Posluszny becomes the fifth member of the Nittany Lion football program to earn first team Academic All-America® honors twice.
Posluszny is joined on the first team by senior defensive end Tim Shaw, while senior safety Nolan McCready earned second team accolades.
Shaw is the 23rd Nittany Lion under Coach Joe Paterno to earn first team Academic All-America® honors, a total of 28 times. The Nittany Lions' total of 37 Academic All-America® football players ranks fourth among all Division I-A institutions. Thirty-five of the selections have been under Paterno.
Penn State has had a least one Academic All-American® in each of the past five seasons, with Posluszny earning first team accolades in 2005.
Penn State, Iowa and Ohio State were the only schools in the nation to have three players selected a first or second team Academic All-American. A record eight student-athletes from Big Ten Conference institutions were named to the first team and the Big Ten led all conferences with 11 selections overall.
I am very honored to be selected for this award, said Posluszny. Many outstanding Penn State players have been Academic All-Americans under Coach Paterno.
I am very appreciative of being chosen for this honor and am glad to hear that Tim and Nolan also were selected to the team.
A 2005 consensus first team All-American, Posluszny is the first member of the Nittany Lion football team to be named Academic All-American of the Year. He is the sixth Penn State student-athlete to receive the honor, joining: Kelly Mazzante (women's basketball, 2004); Bonnie Bremner (women's volleyball, 1998, 99);
John Amaechi (men's basketball, 1995); mens volleyballs Byron Schneider (Men's At-Large, 1994) and wrestlings Jim Martin (Men's At-Large, 1988, 89)
One of the nations top defensive players for the second consecutive year, Posluszny is the fifth Penn State football student-athlete to earn first team Academic All-America® honors twice, joining John Runnells (1965-66), Harry Hamilton (1982-83), Lance Hamilton (1984-85) and Jeff Hartings (1994-95).
In 2005, Posluszny became the seventh Nittany Lion to earn first team All-America and ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® honors in the same season. The standout linebacker is one of the squad's most accomplished students with a 3.56 grade point average in finance. A three-time Academic All-District selection, Posluszny
has made the Dean's List in five of his initial six semesters and is on schedule to graduate in December, in 3 1/2 years.
recently was named a National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete, which provides $18,000 for post-graduate study. He is a finalist for the prestigious Draddy Trophy, presented to the nations top college football scholar-athlete, with the winner being announced Tuesday night at the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Awards Dinner in New York City.
The 2005 winner of the Butkus and Bednarik Awards, Posluszny is a finalist for those two honors, as well as the Rotary Lombardi Award and Lott Trophy. The 2006 recipients will be announced from December 6-10.
A native of Aliquippa. Pa., Posluszny is the leader of one of the nations top defenses. He leads Penn State with 108 tackles, which ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lion defense is ranked in the Top 10 nationally in rushing (87.8 ypg, 10th) and scoring defense (14.8 ppg, 10th) and sacks (38, T 8th) and is in the Top 20 in total (279.0 ypg, 17th) and pass efficiency defense (104.4 rating, 13th).
A starter in the last 36 games, Posluszny is Penn States career tackle leader (364) and the first Nittany Lion to earn three 100-tackle seasons. He has 108 hits (65 solo), with 7.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and four pass break-ups. He has led team in tackles eight times this season, including the last three games, and has an opportunity to become the first Penn Stater to lead the team in tackles three consecutive years.
Posluszny was selected Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for a conference record fifth time in his career after making 13 tackles and forcing a fumble against Illinois. A three-time All-Big Ten selection, he made a season-high 14 hits in a 13-3 loss at Wisconsin.
The former Hopewell High School standout is Penn States first two-time team captain since Mike Reid and Steve Smear in 1968-69.
From Wyomissing, Pa., McCready has a 3.61 grade point average in political science and is on schedule to graduate in December. He has played in all 12 games on defense and special teams this season, recording 28 tackles (21 solo), with one interception and two pass break-ups. A two-time Academic All-District selection, he made a career-high seven stops against Michigan State on Senior Day. A Deans List student, McCready earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2004 and 05.
Shaw earned his first Academic All-District recognition this year. A native of Livonia, Mich., he has started all 12 games at defensive end after two years as a starter at linebacker. Shaw is sixth on the squad with 37 tackles (21 solo) and is second with 6.0 sacks and seven pass break-ups. The 2001 Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year from Clarenceville High School, Shaw earned his degree in management last May and is working on a second degree, in telecommunications. An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, he graduated with a 3.38 grade point average and is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Penn States three Academic All-America football selections are its most since having four in 1982 (Todd Blackledge, Harry Hamilton, Scott Radecic and Mark Robinson).
The selections of Posluszny, Shaw and McCready give Penn State six ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans during the 2006 fall semester. Penn State has had 127 Academic All-Americans® all-time, to rank No. 4 among all NCAA institutions, with 84 such honorees over the past 13 1/2 years.