FRESNO, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 17, 2015) - Clovis West senior Caleb Kelly was presented the high school Butkus Award honoring the nation's top high school linebacker.

The award was presented at a surprise event before coaches, players and family at a team meeting today involving Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus and his son Matt, who was on hand to present the trophy.

Kelly, a 6'2" 220 lb. senior outside linebacker for the Golden Eagles who has been playing football since age seven, notched 115 tackles during the 2015 season, including 23 tackles for loss, 21 sacks and three forced fumbles. Finishing second in the voting was Lyndell Wilson of Carver Senior High School, Montgomery, Ala. Finalists also included: Ben Davis of Gordo High School, Gordo, Ala.; Mique Juarez of North High School in Torrance, Calif.; and Maxs Tupai of Murray High School, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Butkus Award selection panel released the following statement: "In what was one of the best prep linebacking classes in a decade, including many very deserving candidates, Caleb Kelly emerged from a tight race as the winner, narrowly edging Lyndell Wilson. Kelly plays the game very fast, with a terrific closing burst to the quarterback. He is a strong, face-up tackler with outstanding cover awareness and has distinguished himself as a very productive playmaker against the run and pass vs. top competition. Kelly is ready to make an immediate impact at the next level."

The high school Butkus Award is significant in that it signals potential at the collegiate and professional level. Two of the last eight high school winners eventually won the collegiate Butkus Award. Among them: Jaylon Smith (2012) of Notre Dame who was presented the collegiate Butkus Award earlier this month, and Manti Te'o (2008) who is a starter for the San Diego Chargers.

Last year's high school Butkus Award winner was Malik Jefferson of Poteet High School in Mesquite, Texas, who now attends and plays football for the University of Texas.

The Butkus Award® selection committee is comprised of football coaches, recruiters, talent scouts and journalists who study football talent yearlong. Selectors and selection criteria are posted at

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.

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Ron Arp