That's three in a row for Linebacker U.

Dan Connor, Penn State's star senior linebacker, won the Bednarik Award last night at ceremonies in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., marking the third straight year that a Nittany Lion has taken home the honor. The Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia presents the award to the nation's top defensive player.

Paul Posluszny, now with the Buffalo Bills, won the award two straight years. Lions linebacker LaVar Arrington won in 1999.

The 6-foot-3, 239-pound Connor, a graduate of Strath Haven High in Delaware County, beat out LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis.

"It was definitely a surprise being in the same category as great players like Laurinaitis and Dorsey," Connor said by telephone after the ceremony. "I wasn't really thinking about odds, but it's neat to win the same award as 'Poz' since we've always been in competition."

Connor passed Posluszny on Penn State's all-time tackles list last month. His Big Ten-leading 136 tackles this season gave him 410 stops for his career with one game to play.

The Lions face Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

"This ranks right up there with all that stuff," Connor said of the Bednarik Award. "This being at the end of my career and the fact that my parents [Jim and Carol] were here"

The Bednarik Award is named for former Eagles and Penn star Chuck Bednarik.

Tebow takes home Maxwell.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow won the Maxwell Award as the nation's top football player and added the Davey O'Brien award as the top quarterback.

Ryan top amateur.

Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, a 2002 graduate of Penn Charter, will receive the Outstanding Amateur Athlete Award at the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's annual awards dinner on Jan. 28.

Noteworthy.

Arkansas running back Darren McFadden was named the player of the year by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Other awards announced last night: The Fred Biletnikoff Award for the outstanding receiver went to Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech; the Jim Thorpe Trophy for the nation's best defensive back went to Antoine Cason of Arizona; the Lou Groza Award for the top placekicker went to Thomas Weber of Arizona State; and the Ray Guy Award for the best punter went to Durant Brooks of Georgia Tech.

Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.

This story contains information from the Associated Press.