Penn State is known as Linebacker U. For good reason.
The Nittany Lions have had 23 linebackers selected in the first three rounds of NFL drafts – four in the first, nine in the second and 10 in the third. Nine of those linebackers became Pro Bowlers and two, Jack Ham and Dave Robinson, became Hall of Famers. Ham also was named to the NFL’s 75th anniversary team.
LaVar Arrington (1999) and Paul Posluszny (205) won Butkus Awards as the best linebacker in college football and Dan Connor (2007) joined Arrington and Posluszny as winners of the Bednarik Award as the college game’s best defender. Dennis Onkotz and Shane Conlan join Ham in the College Football Hall of Fame. Matt Millen was a defensive tackle at Penn State but became a standup linebacker in the NFL, winning four Super Bowl rings with three teams – the Raiders, 49ers and Redskins.
Penn State had the top two selections in the 2000 NFL draft, defensive end Courtney Brown first and Arrington second. Running back Curt Warner was the third overall pick of the 1983 draft. Six Nittany Lions have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. In addition to Ham and Robinson, Penn State has two guards in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Mike Munchak and Mike Michalske) and two halfbacks (Franco Harris and Lenny Moore).
The Nittany Lions have had 35 first-round draft picks and a 36th looms in 2018 in Big Ten MVP Saquon Barkley, who scored touchdowns in a school record 15 consecutive games on his way to 53 career TDs. He rushed for 1,000 yards all three of his seasons at Penn State before electing to skip his senior season to turn pro. He would become the Nittany Lions’ first first-round draft pick since 2010.
Here’s is the all-time Penn State NFL team:
QB Kerry Collins, Led 2000 Giants to Super Bowl
HB Franco Harris, Hall of Fame
FB Sam Gash, 2 Pro Bowls
WR Lenny Moore, Hall of Fame
WR O.J. McDuffie, 1998 NFL receiving champion
TE Ted Kwalick, 3 Pro Bowls
T Stew Barber, 5-time AFL all-star
T Irv Pankey, 12 seasons, 122 career starts
G Mike Munchak, Hall of Fame
G Mike Michalske, Hall of Fame
C Bill Lenkaitis, 14-year career
DE Tamba Hali, 5 Pro Bowls, 89 ½ career sacks
DE Cameron Wake, 5 Pro Bowls, 92 career sacks
DT Rosey Grier, Member of Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome”
DT Pete Kugler, 5-time champ – 3 in NFL, 2 in USFL
OLB Jack Ham, Hall of Fame
MLB Matt Millen, 4-time Super Bowl champion
OLB Dave Robinson, Hall of Fame
CB David Macklin, 9-year starter, 14 interceptions
CB Paul Lankford, 10-year starter, 13 interceptions
S Darren Perry, 8-year starter, 35 interceptions
S Mike Zordich, 12 seasons, 20 interceptions
K Matt Bahr, 1,422 career points in 17 seasons
P Ralph Giacomarro, 4 seasons, 185 punts, 41.0-yard average
ST Tim Shaw, Chicago Bears record 30 special-teams tackles in 2009