CHICAGO – (July 20, 2020) – The Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s best linebackers kicked off its 36th 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 44 universities, including 2019 finalist Micah Parsons of Penn State and 2018 finalist Dylan Moses of Alabama who won the 2016 high school Butkus Award.
The High School Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 47 secondary schools across 21 states, with Florida (7), Georgia (5) and North Carolina (5) fielding the most candidates.
Semi-finalists are expected to be named November 2, finalists November 23, and winners on or before December 8. Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.
The 2019 Butkus Award winners:
• Collegiate: Isaiah Simmons, Clemson (now Arizona Cardinals)
• High School: Justin Flowe, Upland, Calif. (now Oregon)
Formed in 1985 and expanded in 2008, the Butkus Award honors 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, @ButkusAward2020 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 #butkusaward2020.
About the National College Football Awards Association
The Butkus Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the association.
The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a two-week period this month. Fourteen of the association’s awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2020 preseason watch list calendar:
- Mon., July 13: Bednarik Award
- Tues., July 14: Davey O’Brien Award
- Wed., July 15: Doak Walker Award
- Thurs., July 16: Biletnikoff Award
- Fri., July 17: Mackey Award
- Mon., July 20: Butkus Award & Paycom Jim Thorpe Award
- Tues., July 21: Bronko Nagurski Trophy & Outland Trophy
- Wed., July 22: Lou Groza Award & Ray Guy Award
- Thurs., July 23: Paul Hornung Award & Wuerffel Trophy
- Fri., July 24: Maxwell Award