CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Nov 22, 2011) - Finalists for the 27th annual collegiate and high school Butkus Award® honoring the nation's top football linebackers were announced today by the Butkus Foundation. Finalists were selected by a panel of 51 coaches, scouts and journalists supervised by Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly who follow all applicable rules of their leagues. Winners will be announced on or before December 7. Finalists for 2011 include (alphabetically):

Butkus Award Collegiate Finalists:

  • Lavonte David, Nebraska
  • Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
  • Jarvis Jones, Georgia
  • Luke Kuechly, Boston College
  • Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
  • Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

Butkus Award High School Finalists:

  • Kwon Alexander, Oxford High School, Ala.
  • Mike Barton, Concord De La Salle High School, Concord, Calif.
  • Noor Davis, Leesburg High School, Fla.
  • Quanzell Lambert, Timber Creek High School, Sicklerville, NJ
  • Antonio Morrison, Bolingbrook High School, Ill.
  • Jabari Ruffin, Downey High School, Calif.

Last season's Butkus Award winners included: Clay Matthews, Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers; Von Miller of Texas A&M University and #2 overall NFL draft pick by the Denver Broncos; and Tony Steward of St. Augustine, Fla., now at Clemson.

The Butkus Award® draws attention to the I Play Clean™ campaign, which aims to end steroid use in organized sports. Dick Butkus encourages past and current athletes, coaches and fans to pledge their support at or 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, and joins his father in philanthropic efforts. More information is at or

The Butkus Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association, a coalition of the major collegiate awards. More information is available at

Contact Information:

Ron Arp