In 2005 Penn State arguably had the best set of three linebackers in the country. Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, and Tim Shaw were a dominating unit, and they all returned for 2006. It would have been easy for the coaches to leave well enough alone and keep the linebacker unit intact this year, which is why fans were perplexed to hear in the preseason the coaches were thinking of going to a 3-4 defense and risking messing up a good thing. What the coaches knew, and Penn State fans quickly found out, is that Sean Lee was too good to ride the bench.
Son, you're too good to sit here
Nittany Lion fans were first introduced to Sean Lee in the 2006 Orange Bowl. Lee replaced Poz when he went down late in the game with the knee injury. Lee did a fantastic job with several key tackles in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Lee kept the fantastic play going right into the 2006 season. Lee did nothing short of look like a miniature version of Poz and Connor on the field from game one. He showed moves like a wide receiver against Northwestern. Running at full speed he leapt in the air to make an interception and get his feet down in bounds.
Lee had his best games on the biggest stages. He recorded 11 tackles against Ohio State and 9 against Michigan. Lee had his best game against Wisconsin. Lee recorded a team high 13 tackles, sacked Stocco twice, forced a fumble and recovered another fumble. And then against Tennessee he forced the fumble that Tony Davis picked up and ran back for the winning touchdown.
Like Poz and Connor, Sean Lee had a breakout year in his sophomore season ensuring the tradition of Linebacker U lives on.
Previous 2006 Surprises
#5 - Paul Posluszny