Butkus Award(R) Collegiate and High School Nominees Announced

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - October 21, 2010) -  Collegiate and high school nominees were announced today for the 26th Annual Butkus Award® honoring the nation's top football linebackers, at a Butkus Foundation Charity Fundraiser here.

The 15 collegiate semi-finalist nominees include three who were nominated last year: Greg Jones of Michigan State, Travis Lewis of Oklahoma, and Von Miller of Texas A&M, along with Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, who won the high school Butkus Award in 2008. The 12 nominees for the high school Butkus Award are from 11 states with two from Georgia. Finalists will be announced November 23, and winners notified by December 8. Meanwhile, the Butkus Award professional trophy winner will be announced in early 2011.

"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," said Dick Butkus, the legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker. 

Collegiate 2010 Butkus Award nominees:

  • Akeem Ayers, UCLA
  • Bruce Carter, North Carolina
  • Mason Foster, Washington
  • Mario Harvey, Marshall
  • Don't'a Hightower, Alabama
  • Justin Houston, Georgia
  • Nate Irving, North Carolina State
  • Greg Jones, Michigan State
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
  • Casey Matthews, Oregon
  • Von Miller, Texas A&M
  • Keenan Robinson, Texas
  • Sean Spence, Miami (Fla.)
  • Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

High School 2010 Butkus Award nominees:

  • Stephone Anthony, Anson High, Wadesboro, NC
  • Shannon Brown, Cook County High, Adel, GA
  • Brent Calloway, Russellville, AL
  • Trey DePriest, Springfield, OH
  • Steve Edmond, Daingerfield, TX
  • Christian French, JF Kennedy High, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Curtis Grant, Hermitage High, Richmond, VA
  • C.J. Johnson, Philadelphia, MS
  • Anthony Sarao, Holy Spirit High, Absecon, NJ
  • Tony Steward, Pedro Menendez High, St. Augustine, FL
  • Lawrence Thomas, Renaissance High, Detroit, MI
  • James Vaughters, Tucker, GA

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 Abbott Nutrition's EAS brand. 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 2009 included Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers and the first person to win the collegiate and pro award; Rolando McClain of Alabama (now Oakland Raiders), as well as Jordan Hicks of Lakota West High School near Cincinnati (now University of Texas).

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. More information is at www.thebutkusaward.com.

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.

Contact Information:

Ron Arp