Connor a Bednarik Finalist

Dan Connor.

Penn State senior linebacker and captain up for the honor presented by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia.

Penn State All-America linebacker Dan Connor has been selected a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.

Connor, the Nittany Lions’ career tackle leader with 410 hits, also was one of three finalists for the 2006 Bednarik Award, 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 joined by LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis as finalists for the Bednarik Award. The winner will be announced during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. 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.

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.

A native of Wallingford, Pa., Connor previously was named a finalist for the 2007 Butkus Award and a semifinalist for Walter Camp Player of the Year. He also was a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award and a candidate for the Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy.

The former Strath Haven High School All-American leads Penn State and the Big Ten with 136 tackles (66 solo) for an 11.3 per game average that ranks No. 9 in the nation. 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.

Connor's 136 tackles rank No. 4 on the Penn State season list. He 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 on Oct. 27, the most by a Nittany Lion since Posluszny had 22 hits at Northwestern in 2005. He also grabbed an interception in Penn State territory and made one tackle for loss vs. the Buckeyes.

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