UNIVERSITY PARK -- Penn State sophomore Micah Parsons is listed among the five finalists for the Butkus Award, which recognizes the nation's best linebacker, the school announced Monday.
Parsons, a former standout at Harrisburg High School, is the first Nittany Lion to be named a Butkus Award finalists since Dan Connor in 2007, Penn State said.
The award, named for legendary linebacker Dick Butkus, annually recognizes the nation’s top collegiate linebacker. Parsons is vying to become the first Nittany Lion to earn the honor since Paul Posluszny in 2005. LaVar Arrington also won the award in 1999, and five have previously been named finalists: Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Connor (2007).
Parsons leads the Nittany Lions this season with 85 tackles -- the second year in a row he's been the team's top tackler. He ranks seventh in the Big Ten with 7.7 tackles per game. He has five games with 10 or more tackles this season.
Parsons was named a Rivals Midseason All-American. He was selected to the Pro Football Focus Big Ten Team of the Week first team following the Purdue game and second team after the Pitt victory.
The Nittany Lions host Rutgers for Senior Day at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.