BUTKUS AWARD® COLLEGIATE AND HIGH SCHOOL NOMINEES ANNOUNCED
Award Honoring Linebackers Celebrating 25th Anniversary
CHICAGO – (October 15, 2009) – Collegiate and high school nominees were announced today for the 25th Annual Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s top football linebackers, at a Butkus Foundation Charity Fundraiser here.
The 16 collegiate semi-finalist nominees include six who were nominees last year, and 12 high school nominees are from nine states. Finalists will be announced November 19, and winners notified by December 8. Meanwhile, the Butkus Award professional trophy winner will be announced in early 2010.
“We have another outstanding group of linebackers,” said Dick Butkus, the award’s namesake. “This Award is about honoring linebackers, and reminding them that they have a responsibility to serve as role models and to give back to society.”
In that spirit, the 51-person selection committee elected to include Mark Herzlich from Boston College, who was a finalist in 2008. Herzlich was diagnosed in May 2009 with a rare bone cancer and has been unable to play as he completes treatment and has surgery later this year. He intends to return to the Boston College starting lineup in the fall of 2010.
“Mark Herzlich would have been a top contender for the Butkus Award this year had it not been for his illness,” said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly, who supervises selectors. “The committee is so impressed with his inspirational story of recovery that we wanted to add him as a nominee.”
Butkus Award 2009 Collegiate Trophy nominees:
• Obi Ezeh, Michigan
• Chris Galippo, Southern California
• Mark Herzlich, Boston College
• Greg Jones, Michigan State
• Sergio Kindle, Texas
• Sean Lee, Penn State
• Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
• Rolando McClain, Alabama
• Von Miller, Texas A&M
• Brandon Spikes, Florida
• Daryl Washington, Texas Christian
• Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
• Eric Norwood, South Carolina
• Perry Riley, Louisiana State
• Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
• Rennie Curran, Georgia
Butkus Award 2009 High School Trophy nominees:
• Aaron Benson, Cedar Hill - Cedar Hill, TX
• Nick Forbes, Thomas Johnson - Frederick, MD
• Khairi Fortt, Stamford - Stamford, CT
• Jordan Hicks, Lakota West - West Chester, OH
• Christian Jones, Lake Howell - Winter Park, FL
• Caleb Lavey, Celina - Celina, TX
• Jeff Luc, Treasure Coast - Port St. Lucie, FL
• Justin Maclin, Ridgeway - Memphis, TN
• Chris Martin, Grandview – Grandview, CO
• Hayes Pullard, Crenshaw - Los Angeles, CA
• Dakota Royer, Manheim Central - Lancaster, PA
• Josh Shirley, Kaiser - Fontana, CA
Butkus wants the Butkus Award® to draw attention to the I Play Clean™ campaign, which aims to end steroid use in organized sports. He encourages past and current athletes, coaches and fans to pledge their support at www.iplayclean.org. That campaign is presented by Old Spice, and receives sports nutrition support from EAS Nutrition. The Butkus Foundation also supports the Butkus Center for Cardiovascular Wellness that strives to control heart disease through early detection and preventive lifestyle modification.
The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel comprised of scouts, coaches and journalists. Selectors follow all rules of their leagues, including limitations on contact with players. Individual votes remain completely confidential.
Butkus Award winners in 2008 included DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys, Aaron Curry of Wake Forest (now Seattle Seahawks), Manti T’eo of Punahou High School (now Notre Dame).
Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School. Meanwhile, his son Matt was a defensive lineman for the University of Southern California’s 1990 Rose Bowl winning team, and joins his father in philanthropic efforts.
The Butkus Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association, a coalition of the major collegiate awards. More information is available at www.NCFAA.org.