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Still Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year

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Standout DT becomes fifth Nittany Lion to earn conference’s top defensive honor

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., November 30, 2011 – Penn State senior defensive tackle Devon Still (Wilmington, Del.) has earned a major addition to his growing list of accolades with his selection as the Big Ten Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year.

Named the conference’s Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year on Monday, Still becomes the fifth Nittany Lion to be selected Big Ten Defensive Player of Year since 1998. The honor is named for former conference standouts Bronko Nagurski and Charles Woodson.

Still joins an elite group of former Nittany Lions, all of whom were first-team All-Americans, to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of Year:  linebacker LaVar Arrington (1998), defensive end Courtney Brown (1999), defensive end Michael Haynes (2002) and defensive tackle Jared Odrick (2009). Since 1994, Still and Odrick are the only defensive tackles who have earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Since the Nittany Lions began Big Ten competition in 1993, Penn State and Ohio State lead all teams with five players selected for the conference’s top defensive honor.

“It’s a blessing,” Still stated. “I had a chance to play with Jared so I knew what it would take. I’ve worked hard. Coming back from the injuries, I’ve had a lot of support from my family, Coach (Larry) Johnson and my teammates.”

“I am really proud of Devon and the way he responded after the injuries early in his career,” said Tom Bradley, interim head coach. “Devon has worked so hard and deserves all the accolades he is receiving. He has been a great leader for the team on and off the field, making sure everyone was working hard and on the same page.”

A co-captain, Still is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy, presented to the nation’s top defensive player. He also is a finalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s premier interior lineman.

For the season, the former Howard Tech standout is second in the Big Ten in solo tackles for loss (15.0) and is tied for third in overall TFL (17.0-minus 77), leading a Penn State defense that ranks in the Top 12 nationally in scoring, total, pass and pass efficiency defense. Still is among the conference leaders with 4.5 sacks (minus-36) and has recorded 55 tackles, with one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a pass break-up.

Still was selected first-team All-Big Ten and was joined by Nittany Lion junior linebacker Gerald Hodges. Penn State senior defensive end Jack Crawford (Longport, N.J.), sophomore placekicker/punter Anthony Fera (Cypress, Texas), sophomore tailback Silas Redd (Norwalk, Conn.) and senior safety Nick Sukay (Mount Pleasant) earned second-team all-conference accolades.

Penn State has had 32 first-team All-Big Ten selections since 2005 (second-highest) and 25 second-team honorees over the past seven seasons. The Nittany Lions have had 69 first-team all-conference honorees since 1993.

No. 23 Penn State and No. 15 Wisconsin tied for the Big Ten Leaders Division title with 6-2 records. The Nittany Lions (9-3) are eligible to participate in their 44th bowl game. Penn State’s 27 bowl wins are No. 3 nationally and 43 bowl visits are good for No. 8 in the nation. The Nittany Lions lead all Big Ten teams in bowl victories and winning percentage (65.1, 27-14-2 record) and are No. 2 in bowl appearances.

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