For the second consecutive year, “Linebacker U” has earned the first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor of the season.
Junior linebacker Sean Lee (Pittsburgh) led the way in Penn State’s stellar defensive effort against Florida International and has earned his first conference Defensive Player of the Week honor. Lee and the Nittany Lions posted their third shutout in the last six games with the 59-0 win in Saturday’s season opener. Penn State limited the Golden Panthers to seven first downs, minus-three yards rushing and 114 total yards, tied for third-lowest by an opponent in the Joe Paterno era.
Lee led the Nittany Lions with seven solo tackles, including two tackles for losses, a sack, a forced fumble and a pass break-up against FIU. He forced a fumble that was recovered by DT Phil Taylor (Clinton, Md.) at the FIU 34 yard-line in the first quarter.
Lee becomes the third different Nittany Lion linebacker to be honored by the conference the past two seasons. Last year, 2007 tri-captain and All-American Dan Connor was honored twice, for the season opener against Akron and in the shut out win over Purdue. Two-time All-American Paul Posluszny was honored by the Big Ten once last season, three times in 2005 and once in 2004, giving him five conference Player of the Week honors, the most of any defensive player since selections began in 1987.
The former Upper St. Clair High School standout is in his second year as a starting OLB for the Lions. Last year, he was third on the squad with 90 tackles (47 solo), with 8.0 TFL (minus-51), 5.5 sacks (minus-46), two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two pass break-ups. Lee forced the fumble that safety Tony Davis returned 88 yards for the eventual game winning score against Tennessee in the 2007 Outback Bowl.
A finance major, Lee will be a strong candidate for ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors after earning Academic All-Big Ten accolades in 2006.
Coach Joe Paterno’s No. 17 Nittany Lions host Notre Dame on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. An all-stadium White Out has been declared for the first time and the team will have a pep rally on Friday at 8:00 p.m. in Rec Hall. The Fighting Irish’s first visit to Happy Valley since 1991 will air on ESPN, the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com , the official website of Penn State Athletics.