Dec. 12, 2005
Penn State's Paul Posluszny was named the winner of the Butkus Award, honoring the nation's top linebacker, to boost the conference total to five national awards for the 2005 season. It is the highest total since league standouts took home seven national accolades following the 2002 campaign. In addition, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced its All-America team with five conference standouts being honored.
Posluszny, who also picked up the Bednarik Award honoring the country's outstanding defensive player, became the second Big Ten student-athlete to pick up a pair of national awards this season along with Minnesota center Greg Eslinger, the winner of the Outland (outstanding interior lineman) and Rimington (top center) Trophies. The league's other national honoree is Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk, who collected the Rotary Lombardi Award (top collegiate lineman or linebacker) and was a finalist for the Bednarik and Butkus Awards. The last Big Ten standout to pick up multiple national awards was Nittany Lions' running back Larry Johnson, who earned the Walter Camp Player of the Year, Maxwell and Doak Walker Awards in 2002.
Posluszny is the second Penn State student-athlete to earn the Butkus Award, joining the league's most recent winner in LaVar Arrington, who also won both the Butkus and Bednarik Awards in 1999. The junior linebacker becomes only the fifth underclassman to win the award along with Arrington, USC's Chris Claiborne, Ohio State's Andy Katzenmoyer (1997) and Oklahoma's Brian Bosworth (1984-85). The Big Ten has now collected the Butkus Award on seven occasions including previous winners Arrington, Katzenmoyer, Kevin Hardy (1995) and Dana Howard (1994) of Illinois, Erick Anderson (1991) of Michigan and Percy Snow (1989) of Michigan State. Posluszny led the Nittany Lions and rated fourth in the conference with 10.1 tackles per contest in all games for a defensive unit that ranked second only to Ohio State in scoring, total and rushing defense.
In addition to the individual accolades, Posluszny, Eslinger and Hawk were joined by Northwestern offensive lineman Zach Strief and Penn State defensive lineman Tamba Hali on the FWAA All-America team. Eslinger, Hali and Hawk were also tabbed first-team All-Americans by the American Football Coaches Association and Walter Camp Football Foundation while Posluszny was a first-team choice on the Walter Camp squad.