SOURCE: Butkus Foundation

Butkus Award, football, linebacker, award, college, pro, high school, steroids, NFL, NCAA

December 08, 2010 19:38 ET

Tony Steward of Pedro Menendez High School Wins High School Butkus Award®

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL--(Marketwire - December 8, 2010) - Tony Steward, a senior at Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, was presented the nationwide high school Butkus Award® in a surprise presentation on campus by the legendary linebacker and award namesake Dick Butkus.

Steward was selected as the nation's top high school linebacker by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly, with only those who cover high school football and college recruiting consulted on the high school award.

"Tony Steward is a young man our selection committee is extremely proud to be able to present to carry on the Butkus Award tradition," said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly and coordinator of the Butkus Award selection committee. "Off the field he is humble, a true leader, and will be a credit to any University he chooses to attend."

In addition to linebacker, the team captain has played running back, wide receiver and has returned three kicks for touchdown for the Falcons' 2010 season.

Arkush said one of the selectors described Steward as follows: "He may be one the best (collegiate) prospects at any position in the country. Steward has a body-builder's upper body and athletic lower body. His size, at six-feet-two-inches and 225 lbs., is ideal for any of the three linebacker positions. He's big, fast, athletic, plays downhill, and has the size and strength to lift ball carriers out of their shoes. Bottom line is, both on and off the football field, he's a difference-maker, and should have an impact the minute he shows up on campus."

Finishing second to Steward was Stephone Anthony of Anson High School in Wadesboro, N.C. Rounding out the top five were: Curtis Grant of Hermitage in Richmond, Va.; Lawrence Thomas of Renaissance High School in Detroit, Mich.; and Shannon Brown, Cook County High School, Adel, Ga.

Earlier this week, the 2010 collegiate Butkus Award was presented to Von Miller of Texas A&M University who succeeded Rolando McClain of Alabama (now Oakland Raiders). Previous high school Butkus Award winners include: 2009, Jordan Hicks of Lakota West High School near Cincinnati (now Texas), and 2008, Manti Te'o, Punahou High School in Hawaii (now Notre Dame). The professional Butkus Award will be presented in January 2011, after Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers was honored last season, and the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware in 2008.

The Butkus family expanded the Award to all three levels of play when they received the award back from its originators in 2008. The collegiate Butkus Award was first given in 1985. The prestigious award will be the subject of a Pro Football Weekly special television program that is expected to air the weekend before the 2011 Super Bowl.

Butkus wants the Butkus Award® to draw attention to the I Play Clean™ campaign, which aims to end steroid use in organized sports. He encourages past and current athletes, coaches and fans to pledge their support at www.iplayclean.org. That campaign is presented by Old Spice, and receives sports nutrition support from Abbott Nutrition's EAS brand.

Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School. Meanwhile, his son Matt was a defensive lineman for the University of Southern California, and joins his father in philanthropic efforts. More information is at www.thebutkusaward.com.

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