Butkus Award Finalists Announced

The Butkus Award is among the top prizes handed out at the end of each college football season. It requires longevity, toughness, and tenacity to be named the top linebacker in all of college football.

Early Monday it was announced that the five finalists for the 2014 honors are Eric Kendricks of UCLA, Hau’oli Kikaha of Washington, Denzel Perryman of Miami (Fla.), Jake Ryan of Michigan, and Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame.

Each of the five candidates has their own unique strength that makes them the potential front-runner, but Kikaha seems to be the heavy favorite. Despite having only 63 tackles, Kikaha has made every one of them count including 17 ½ sacks to go along with 23 ½ tackles for a loss. Kendricks’ 124 total tackles, ranked sixth in the FBS, and three interceptions for the Bruins, may only match those staggering numbers.

Last year’s winner was C.J. Mosley of the University of Alabama, who was later drafted by Baltimore Ravens with the 17th overall pick. Mosely has been outstanding during his rookie campaign and is among the front-runners to win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of The Year.

A winner will be announced December 9, along with several other of the top awards in college football. Each of the five is held in high regard by NFL scouts, with serious potential to be high first round picks in a draft that is considerably deficient in “skill position” talent, but is loaded with prospects on the defensive side of the ball.

One factor that could play into Kendricks closing the gap, is that his Bruins are currently ranked higher than any of the other finalists’ teams; and with a tough test at home against Stanford this week, a game that if the Bruins win will crown them Pac-12 South division champs, Kendricks could turn voters his way with the national spotlight on his Bruins this weekend.

*Section Photo credit to Miami Herald; Featured Photo (above) credit to Gary A. Vasquez, USA Today Sports

UNC Trashes Duke Locker Room
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