The Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s best linebackers kicked off its 35th annual selection process by announcing its collegiate and high school preseason watch lists.
University of Wyoming senior middle linebacker Logan Wilson was among the collegiate players named to this year’s list. It was the first time in Wilson’s career that he was named to the Butkus Award Watch List. Wilson has started every game of his college career for the Cowboys — 39 consecutive entering his senior season. He enters the 2019 season with 316 career tackles, which ranks No. 2 among all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players currently playing. He has been a starter on three consecutive bowl-eligible teams in 2016, ‘17 and ‘18. He helped lead Wyoming to the 2016 Mountain West Championship Game, the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Championship.
Each watch list contains 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 39 universities, including returning finalist Dylan Moses of Alabama who won the 2016 high school Butkus Award, and returning semifinalist Markus Bailey of Purdue.
The High School Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 47 secondary schools across 22 states, with Georgia schools fielding the most candidates (6).
Semi-finalists will be named November 4, finalists November 25, and winners on or before December 10. Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.
The 2018 Butkus Award winners:
• Professional: Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
• Collegiate: Devin White, LSU (now Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
• High School: Nakobe Dean, Horn Lake, Miss. (now Georgia)
Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. They include the I Play Clean® initiative promoting training and nutrition instead of performance-enhancing drugs, and the Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults.
The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.com and on Facebook at 51.butkus, is presented by the nonprofit Butkus Foundation. Selectors and selection criteria are located on the official website. Search social media for #butkusaward2019.
The Butkus Award® is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935. Visit www.NCFAA.org for more information.