CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Nov 24, 2014) - Finalists for the 30th annual Butkus Award® honoring the nation's best linebackers at the collegiate and high school levels were announced today by the Butkus Foundation.

The five collegiate finalists include 2013 collegiate semifinalist Denzel Perryman of Miami and 2012 high school Butkus winner Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame.

Butkus Award 2014 Collegiate Finalists 
Eric Kendricks University of California Los Angeles
Hau'oli Kikaha University of Washington
Denzel Perryman University of Miami (Fla.)
Jake Ryan University of Michigan
Jaylon Smith University of Notre Dame
Butkus Award 2014 High School Finalists 
Jerome Baker   Benedictine High School   Cleveland, OH
Justin Hilliard   St. Xavier High School   Cincinnati, OH
John Houston   Junipero Serra High School   Gardena, CA
Malik Jefferson   Ralph H. Poteet High School   Mesquite, TX
Leo Lewis   Brookhaven High School   Brookhaven, MS

Winners will be named by December 9 by the independent panel of 51 recruiters, scouts, coaches and journalists. A professional Butkus Award honoree will be named in early 2015. Selectors and selection criteria are posted at

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)

Created in 1985, the Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while spreading the word about Butkus' I Play Clean™ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of using performance-enhancing drugs. The I Play Clean initiative is supported in part by the NFL and NFL Players Association Research and Education Foundation. More information is available at and on Facebook at

The Butkus Award,, 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 for more information.

Contact Information:

Ron Arp