SOURCE: Butkus Foundation

Butkus Foundation

July 14, 2015 09:00 ET

Butkus Award® 31st Season Watch Lists Announced

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jul 14, 2015) - The 31st annual Butkus Award® honoring the nation's best linebackers kicked off its selection process today by announcing its collegiate and high school pre-season watch lists.

Each watch list contains 51 candidates, honoring the retired professional jersey of Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history. A selection panel of 51 deeply experienced coaches, evaluators and journalists will narrow the field by private ballot. Players who do not appear on the watch list are eligible for the Award.

The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 35 universities and eight athletic conferences. It includes returning finalist and 2012 high school Butkus Award winner Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame and four returning semi-finalists. They include; Reggie Ragland of Alabama, Myles Jack of UCLA, Jordan Jenkins of Georgia and Eric Striker of Oklahoma. Also included is 2013 high school winner Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State.

The High School Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 21 states, with California (9), Alabama (6) and Florida (6) fielding the most candidates.

Semi-finalists will be named November 2, finalists November 23, and winners will be notified on or before December 8. The Pro Butkus Award winner will be announced in early 2016.

The 2014 Butkus Award winners:

  • Professional: Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
  • Collegiate: Eric Kendricks, UCLA (now Minnesota Vikings)
  • High School: Malik Jefferson, Poteet, Mesquite, Tex. (now Texas)

The Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while helping spread the word about Butkus' I Play Clean™ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of resorting to steroids and related drugs. More information is available at and on facebook at

The Butkus Award, and on Facebook at 51.butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. The Butkus Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which includes the 22 most prestigious awards in college football with 700 years of selection excellence. Visit for more information.

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