Time to go back a few years to one of the most storied members of Linebacker U – Paul Posluszny.
Posluszny, from Beaver County, PA, helped lead his Hopewell High School football team to the WPIAL championship and AAA State Championship in the early 2000s. His next step was playing for Joe Paterno starting in 2003. As a true freshman, he had his breakout game in one of the worst losses to Michigan State during one of the worst Penn State seasons – racking up 8 tackles and .5 TFLs against the Spartans. During his 2003 season, again, as a true freshman, Posluszny had 36 total tackles and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
In 2004, he started in all 11 games and led the team with 104 tackles, earning him a spot as a second team All-Big Ten player.
As a captain in 2005, Posluszny logged 116 tackles and became only the second Penn State player (after Lavar Arrington) to win both the Chuck Bednarik and Dick Butkus Awards as the College Defensive Player and Linebacker of the Year, and was named to the 2005 All-America Team. Oh, and of course, he helped lead the Nittany Lions to an 11-1 season, the Big Ten Conference co-champions, and a three-overtime Orange Bowl win after two previous seasons with dismal records.
In his senior year, Poz broke the school record for tackles with 372 career stops (nailing 116 of them during 2006), which helped him earn the 2006 Chuck Bednarik Award, making Poz only the second person to win the Bednarik Award twice. He was also named to the 2006 All-America Team and was the first Penn State linebacker to be a two-time AP All-American.
As the 34th overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Poz went on to play four seasons with the Buffalo Bills and seven with the Jacksonville Jaguars, racking up 1,214 tackles, one defensive touchdown and 16 sacks in his professional career. Poz was the second-leading tackler in Jaguars history and a Pro Bowl player in 2013.
In March 2018, in a surprise move, Poz announced his retirement from the Jaguars, stating he could no longer compete at a level he could find acceptable. What’s next for the former linebacker? He hopes to get into grad school for business in the spring or do something with aviation (he has his pilot’s license).
One thing’s for sure: whatever he does, he’ll tackle it with the same dedication he had in his football career.