Coming out of high school Dan Connor was considered one of the best linebackers in his class. Connor played football at Strath Haven High School outside of Philadelphia, and finished his high school career with 38 sacks, and 77 rushing touchdowns as an athletic running back. Out of his many scholarship offers, Connor decided to become a Nittany Lion at Penn State.
Connor immediately found success in Happy Valley. Even though he did not start for the majority of his freshman season, he still was second on the team in tackles with 85. Keeping a similar role of going in and out of the lineup, Connor registered 76 tackles the next season. Following the footsteps of two-time Chuck Bednarik Award winner Paul Posluszny, he was a First-Team All-American in both his junior and senior seasons after becoming a star on a tough Big Ten defense.
In his senior season, Connor’s performance was so impressive that he earned the Chuck Bednarik Award for being the nation’s best defensive player. In his 2007 campaign, he recorded an astounding 145 tackles, 15 of which went for a loss. Connor also added 6.5 sacks, an interception, and seven passes defended. Conner left Penn State holding the career tackle record with 419.
Connor was drafted in third round by the Carolina Panthers in the 2008 NFL Draft. He went on to also play for the Cowboys and will now enter the 2013 season with the New York Giants.