Penn State Football

Penn State Football: The Mount Rushmore of Linebacker U

Tim TolleyContributor IFebruary 20, 2014

Penn State Football: The Mount Rushmore of Linebacker U

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    Ingo Arndt/ Minden Pictures/Associated Press

    Leading up to the NBA All-Star Weekend, it seemed as though everyone felt a need to name their own NBA "Mount Rushmore." The term, of course, is poached from South Dakota's national memorial recognizing four of the most prestigious and influential presidents in American History: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

    In basketball terms, “Mount Rushmore” generally means the four best players ever, and rarely do two people agree on who belongs on that pedestal.

    In an interview with Steve Smith on NBA.com, LeBron James thinks he'll be on it some day. According to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated, Durant has his own four, and Karl Malone doesn't care about a basketball Mount Rushmore, saying "If it ain't some hunting and fishing up there, I have no desire to be up there."

    Kobe doesn't want to pick just four: 

    Kobe's Rushmore: Magic, Bird, Michael, and Russell. "But it's impossible to do four, come on, man."

    — Eye on Basketball (@EyeOnBasketball) February 17, 2014

    But four is the limit. That's the only real rule when naming a Mount Rushmore of anything. Whether it's a Mount Rushmore of comedians, singers or grocery stores, it can only be a list of four.

    The same goes for linebackers.

    Penn State has a bit of a history when it comes to producing successful linebackers, many of who have gone on to enjoy decorated NFL careers as well.

    There are Penn State linebackers who can call themselves All-Americans, National Champions, Bednarik and Butkus Award Winners, first-round draft picks and Pro Bowlers. But who is the cream of the crop?

    Who is on the Mount Rushmore of Linebacker U?

    All stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com.

     


LaVar Arrington

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Credentials

    • Second overall draft pick
    • Two-time All-American
    • Butkus Award winner (top linebacker)
    • Chuck Bednarik Award winner (top defensive player)

    Arrington may be the one name on this list that no one will argue with. As part of a defense anchored by himself and Courtney Brown, Arrington is one of the most decorated players to ever lace up in college football.

    His accomplishments at Penn State led to him being the second player selected in the 2000 draft. Despite being seen by some as a disappointment, he was named an All-Pro by the Associated Press twice in his NFL career and was a three-time Pro Bowler.

Dan Connor

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Credentials

    • Chuck Bednarik Award winner (top defensive player)
    • All-American
    • Penn State's all-time leading tackler
    • Third-round draft pick

    Connor cut his teeth playing alongside another Penn State great, Paul Posluszny, before moving to the middle where he earned his fame.

    After compiling 113 tackles in 2006, Connor had a 145-tackle campaign en route to his school-best 419 career tackles.

    Although he hasn't enjoyed the success in the NFL that some expected, Connor has been in the league for seven years and had 75 tackles in 2011.

     

Paul Posluszny

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Credentials

    • Two-time consensus All-American
    • Two-time Chuck Bednarik Award winner (top defensive player)
    • Butkus Award winner (top linebacker)
    • Second-round draft pick
    • 2013 Pro Bowler
    • Second behind only Connor in career tackles as Penn State

    "Poz" was a big part of the turn around that occurred in Happy Valley in the mid-2000s, ending his career as the top tackler in school history.

    When flanked by Connor and Sean Lee, Posluszny helped form one of the best linebacker corps in the history of college football and helped him become the second two-time Bednarik Award winner in history.

    In his seven NFL seasons, Poz has compiled 817 tackles, 10 sacks and 11 interceptions.

Michael Mauti

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    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Credentials

    • All-American
    • Big Ten Linebacker of the Year
    • Kept the program intact in the summer of 2012 when it was on the verge of implosion
    • One of six players to speak at Joe Paterno's memorial

    Mauti doesn't have the accolades that some others who were left off can boast. He wasn't drafted until the seventh round and totaled more than 70 tackles just once.

    His greatest accomplishment came off the field, when he and a few other upperclassmen took charge and became the glue of the team when “mass exodus” was expected by many. 

    When Mauti wasn't able to play his final game as a Nittany Lion due to his third torn ACL, the team adorned his number 42 on the sides of their helmets. Teammate Gerald Hodges took it a step further by wearing Mauti's jersey as a tribute.

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