Penn State linebacker Dan Connor has been named a first team all-American by the Associated Press.

The 6-foot-3, 239-pound senior is the fifth Nittany Lions linebacker to earn back-to-back first-team honors. Last season, Connor was named to the first team by the Sporting News and also was on the AP second team.

Last week, the former Strath Haven High star was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation all-American team. Connor also was awarded the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player.

The other Lions linebackers who earned first-team all-American honors twice were Dennis Onkotz (1968-69), Shane Conlan (1985-86), LaVar Arrington (1998-99) and Paul Posluszny (2005-06).

Connor is the 74th first-team all-American to play for coach Joe Paterno.

A native of Wallingford, Connor has a Big Ten-leading 136 tackles this season. He is first all-time in career tackles at Penn State with 410.

The Lions (8-4) will face Texas A&M (7-5) in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

Maurice Evans, a sophomore defensive end at Penn State, earned honorable mention on the AP team.

The first-teamers. Arkansas running back Darren McFadden was one of four players named to the Associated Press all-American team for the second straight year.

Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis were the others.

Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow joined McFadden in the backfield along with Central Florida's Kevin Smith, who leads the nation with 2,448 yards and 30 touchdowns. Smith is the first all-American from UCF, which began playing major-college football in 1996.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel, who finished fourth in the Heisman voting, was voted to the second team, as was Rutgers running back Ray Rice.

Hawaii's Colt Brennan, third in the Heisman voting, was the third-team quarterback. Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, a Penn Charter graduate, finished out of the running.

McFadden set school records with 1,725 yards rushing and 2,172 all-purpose yards, breaking the marks he set last year. He scored 16 touchdowns and threw four TD passes, working as a quarterback out of Arkansas' shotgun "Wild Hog" formation.

The junior has said he'll decide whether to return to school for his senior season after the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1 against Daniel and Missouri, though he may have given a hint as to which way he was leaning after the Heisman ceremony when he said, "I think my quarterbacking days are about to come to a halt."

Freshman receiver Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech was selected to the first team after he set NCAA freshman records with 125 receptions for 1,861 yards and 21 TDs. He was one of four unanimous selections, along with McFadden, Dorsey, and Southern Cal defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis.

Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman on Saturday night. He was the second-rated passer in the country, led the Gators in rushing and became the first major-college player with at least 20 rushing touchdowns and at least 20 TD passes in the same season.

The last Florida quarterback to be an all-American was Rex Grossman in 2001.

The other first-team linebacker with Connor and Laurinaitis is Colorado's Jordon Dizon, who led the nation in solo tackles with 107. Virginia's Chris Long, son of former Villanova/NFL great Howie Long, was selected at defensive end.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.
Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.