|By Marketwired .||
|July 14, 2014 10:27 AM EDT||
CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwired) -- 07/14/14 -- The 30th annual Butkus Award® honoring the nation's best linebackers kicked off its selection process today by announcing its collegiate and high school pre-season watch lists.
Each watch list contains 51 candidates, honoring the retired professional jersey of Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history. The selection panel is comprised of 51 coaches, evaluators and journalists. Players who do not appear on the watch list are eligible for the Award.
The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes 51 candidates from 40 universities, including returning 2013 semi-finalist Denzel Perryman of the University of Miami, Fla. Two prior high school Butkus Award winners made the list, including Jordan Hicks of Texas and Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame.
The High School Butkus Award watch list includes 51 candidates from 49 high schools, including three from Trinity Christian Academy of Jacksonville, Fla. States with the most prep players include Florida (7), Ohio (6), Texas (6), Georgia (4), Indiana (4) and Virginia (4).
Semi-finalists will be named October 27, finalists November 24, and winners will be notified on or before December 9. The Pro Butkus Award winner will be announced in January 2014.
2013 Butkus Award winners:
- Professional: NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers
- Collegiate: C.J. Mosley, Alabama (now Baltimore Ravens)
- High School: Raekwon McMillan, Liberty County, Ga. (now Ohio State)
The Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while helping spread the word about Butkus' I Play Clean initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of resorting to steroids and related drugs. More information is available at www.iplayclean.org and on facebook at i.play.clean.
The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.com and on facebook at 51.butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. The Butkus Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which includes the 21 most prestigious awards in college football with 678 years of selection excellence. Visit www.NCFAA.org for more information.
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