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CHICAGO– (October 28, 2013) – Leading candidates for football’s prestigious Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s top football linebackers were announced today by the Butkus Foundation, and Akron resident Dante Booker Jr. is on the list.
The 12 collegiate semi-finalists include returning finalist C.J. Mosley of Alabama. The 12 high school finalists are from eight states, with three each from Ohio and Florida. Booker is a senior at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and is an Ohio State University recruit. Finalists will be announced November 26 and winners will be announced by December 10. The pro winner will be announced in early 2014.
The Butkus Award honors outstanding linebackers at three levels of play, while spreading the word about the I Play Clean™ initiative, which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play smart, instead of resorting to performance-enhancing drugs. More information is available at www.iplayclean.orgor at www.facebook.com/i.play.clean.
“This Award is about honoring linebackers at all levels, 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 2013 Butkus Award Semi-Finalists:
Anthony Barr UCLA
Lamin Barrow Louisiana State University
Chris Borland University of Wisconsin
Khairi Fortt University of California
Khalil Mack University at Buffalo
C.J. Mosley* University of Alabama
Denzel Perryman University of Miami (Fla.)
Trevor Reilly University of Utah
Ryan Shazier The Ohio State University
Shayne Skov Stanford University
Yawin Smallwood University of Connecticut
Kyle Van Noy Brigham Young University
* Denotes 2012 Semi-Finalist
High School 2013 Butkus Award Semi-Finalists:
Dante Booker Jr. St. Vincent-St. Mary, Akron, OH
Kyle Berger St. Ignatius High School, Cleveland, OH
Christian Miller Spring Valley High School, Columbia, SC
Nyles Morgan Crete-Monee High School, Crete, IL
Dwight Williams Junipero Serra High School, Gardena, CA
Raekwon McMillan Liberty County High School, Hinesville, GA
Kain Daub Sandalwood High School, Jacksonville, FL
Tre Williams St. Paul's Episcopal High School, Mobile, AL
Connor Strachan St. Sebastians School, Needham, MA
Dillon Bates Ponte Vedra High School, Ponte Vedra, FL
Michael Ferns St. Clairsville High School, St. Clairsville, OH
Jacob Pugh Godby High School, Tallahassee, FL
Butkus Award honorees are 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. Last season’s Butkus Award winners were: Manti Te’o, Notre Dame (San Diego Chargers); Jaylon Smith, Bishop Luers Fort Wayne, Ind. (Notre Dame); and Von Miller, Denver Broncos.
Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Dick 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, a defensive lineman for USC’s 1990 Rose Bowl winning team, joins his father in philanthropic efforts. More information is at www.thebutkusaward.com
The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.comor www.facebook.com/51.butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. It is part of the National College Football Awards Association, a coalition of the major collegiate awards. More information is available at www.NCFAA.org.