The Butkus Foundation announced today that Clemson linebackers James Skalski and Baylon Spector have been named as two of 51 players on the watch list for the collegiate Butkus Award. Additional information from award organizers is included below.
CHICAGO – (July 26, 2021) – The Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s best linebackers kicked off its 37th annual selection process today by announcing its collegiate and high school preseason watch lists.
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 51 universities, including returning finalist Devin Lloyd of Utah and five returning semi-finalists.
The High School Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 51 secondary schools across 26 states, with Texas (6), Georgia (5) and Florida (4) fielding the most candidates.
Semi-finalists are expected to be named Nov. 1, finalists Nov. 22, and winners on or before Dec. 7. Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.
The 2020 Butkus Award winners:• Collegiate: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (now Cleveland Browns)• High School: Prince Kollie, David Crockett, Jonesborough, Tenn. (now Notre Dame)
Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs.
The Butkus Award is partnering with Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage to celebrate Butkus Award winners. The event is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Contact the Butkus Foundation for ticket and sponsorship information.
The Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation and selected by a 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists. The award is part 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.
2021 Collegiate Butkus Award Watch List
Christopher Allen, AlabamaWill Anderson, AlabamaChristian Harris, AlabamaMerlin Robertson, Arizona StateGrant Morgan, ArkansasBumper Pool, ArkansasZakoby McClain, AuburnTerrel Bernard, BaylorJames Patterson, BuffaloPayton Wilgar, BYUJames Skalski, ClemsonBaylon Spector, ClemsonNate Landman, ColoradoVentrell Miller, FloridaAmari Gainer, Florida StateAdam Anderson, GeorgiaNakobe Dean, GeorgiaQuay Walker, GeorgiaJake Hansen, IllinoisMicah McFadden, IndianaMike Rose, Iowa StateDamone Clark, LSULakia Henry, MississippiSam Williams, MississippiBlaze Alldredge, MissouriJeremiah Gemmel, North CarolinaPayton Wilson, North Carolina StateJackson Hankey, North Dakota StateChris Bergin, NorthwesternBrian Asamoah, OklahomaNik Bonnito, OklahomaMalcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma StateNoah Sewell, OregonAvery Roberts, Oregon StateJesse Luketa, Penn StateBrandon Smith, Penn StateOlakunle Fatukasi, RutgersJordan Strachan, South CarolinaMikel Jones, SyracuseDemarvion Overshown, TexasAaron Hansford, Texas A&MColin Schooler, Texas TechCarlton Martial, TroyDrake Jackson, USCDevin Lloyd, UtahAnfernee Orji, VanderbiltNick Jackson, VirginiaZion Tupuola-Fetui, WashingtonEdefuan Ulofoshio, WashingtonJack Sanborn, WisconsinChad Muma, Wyoming