WINS 32ND COLLEGIATE BUTKUS AWARD® BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – (December 4, 2016) – The 32nd annual collegiate Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s best collegiate linebacker was presented today to Reuben Foster, a senior at the University of Alabama.
The bronze trophy was presented in-person by its namesake Dick Butkus and his son Matt as a surprise at an evening team banquet here, following Alabama’s appearance in the SEC Championship game Saturday.
Foster received 77 points in the Butkus Award voting, becoming the fourth Butkus Award winner from Alabama, matching Oklahoma. Past Alabama winners; C.J. Mosley in 2013 (now Baltimore Ravens), Rolando McClain in 2009 (now Dallas Cowboys), and the late Derrick Thomas in 1988 who joined Mr. Butkus in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Runner-up was Zach Cunningham of Vanderbilt with 56 points and Jarrad Davis of Florida with 32 points. Rounding out the top five were LSU’s Kendall Beckwith and Iowa’s Josey Jewell. Those receiving write-in votes included Alabama's Ryan Anderson and Shaun Dion Hamilton, Ohio State's Raekwon McMillan and UCLA's Jayon Brown.
The selection committee stated: “Reuben Foster is a complete linebacker with the instincts, closing burst, explosion and on-field leadership traits that set the tone for the nation’s top defense. He is a fearless striker who plays the game with intensity and passion. The way he uncoils on contact and the way his teammates gravitate toward him are both reminiscent of Mr. Butkus. After finishing second to Jaylon Smith in the high school balloting four years ago, Foster distinguished himself in this year’s collegiate class.”
The Butkus Award® selection committee is comprised of football coaches, recruiters, talent scouts and journalists who study football talent yearlong. Selectors are asked to recognize qualities that defined Butkus’ career; toughness, on-field leadership, competitiveness, football character, and linebacking skills.
The 2015 collegiate Butkus Award winner was Jaylon Smith (now Dallas Cowboys). A 2016 high school winner will be named soon, and a 2016 pro winner will be named early in 2017.
Created in 1985, the Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. In addition to honoring top linebackers, the Butkus Award helps spread the word about the I Play Clean™ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of resorting to performance-enhancing drugs. The Butkus Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which includes the 22 most prestigious awards in college football with 722 years of selection excellence.
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