WINSTON-SALEM, NC--(Marketwire - December 9, 2008) - The 24th annual Butkus Award® honoring the nation's top collegiate linebacker was presented today to Aaron Curry from Wake Forest University. In a surprise presentation, Dick Butkus and his son Matt presented the award to Curry who was featured at a media luncheon here.

Curry, a 6'3" 243 lb. senior from E.E. Smith High School Fayetteville, N.C. received 63 total points (14 first place), ahead of Rey Maualuga of USC with 56 points (11 first place), and the 2007 winner James Laurinaitis from Ohio State with 45 points (6 first place). Brian Cushing of USC (27 points) and Mark Herzlich of Boston College (11 points) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. In addition to the top five, Rolando McClain of Alabama, Scott McKillop of Pittsburgh, and Sean Weatherspoon of Missouri all finished with at least one first place vote.

"We asked our selection committee to vote for the top three college football linebackers in the country," said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly, who supervised the 51-person selection panel of coaches, scouts, recruiters and journalists. "What ensued was a remarkably close race in which 11 different players received votes, eight receiving first place votes. In the end, a clear winner emerged in Aaron Curry from Wake Forest University."

Curry finished the 2008 regular season with 101 tackles (63 solo, 15 for loss) for the Demon Deacons. The team is #2 nationwide in takeaways with 35, with Curry credited for three fumble recoveries and an interception. He was named to the all-Atlantic Coast Conference first team at linebacker. The Demon Deacons will play in a school-record third consecutive Bowl game Saturday, December 20 in Washington, DC.

Curry is the fifth linebacker from the Atlantic Coast Conference to win the Butkus Award collegiate trophy. Others were E.J. Henderson of Maryland in 2002, Dan Morgan of Miami in 2000, Marvin Jones of Florida State in 1992, and Paul McGowan of Florida State in 1987.

A Butkus Award reception is planned January 13 in Chicago to honor Wake Forest's Curry, Punahou High School's Manti Te'o, and a yet-to-be-named winner of the Butkus Award professional trophy. Ticket and sponsorship information is available at www.thebutkusaward.com.

Selection Process Outlined

The Butkus family received the Butkus Award® property earlier this year and called upon Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly to assemble a selection panel. Butkus and Arkush became friends broadcasting NFL games together beginning in 1985.

"Dick Butkus is a treasured and respected colleague. He envisioned the Butkus Award being a perfect vehicle to showcase the I Play Clean™ campaign that he and Matt Butkus founded to educate our youth on the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. Given it is a cause I strongly believe in, my job was to form the most credible selection committee ever assembled for a major sports award, and oversee the balloting and selection process."

The 51-person selection panel is comprised of the best-known NFL General Managers, Head Coaches, Defensive Coordinators, Personnel Directors, Head Scouts, College Head Coaches, Recruiting Coordinators, three senior football journalists, and four highly regarded independent talent evaluators. None of the NFL talent evaluators were allowed to have any contact with any college underclassmen, and none of our college coaches and evaluators were allowed to have any contact with any of the high school candidates. All votes are kept confidential to assure compliance with all NCAA and NFL rules and restrictions regarding scouting and recruiting.

About Dick and Matt Butkus

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.

Contact Information: Contact: Ron Arp