Earlier today in Chicago, IL, the Butkus Foundation named the 12 finalists for the 24th Annual Butkus Award. The Butkus Award is one of the “elite” awards granted to a defensive player in college football, considered to the THE best linebacker in the nation. The Butkus Award is named for Dick Butkus, former College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player for the Chicago Bears.
Two schools, Louisiana State University and Southern California walked away with dual nominations. Darry Beckwith and Perry Riley from Louisiana State University were nominated for the prestigious award.
Darry Beckwith, a senior on the LSU Football Team, has had an outstanding year on the field. Beckwith racked up a total 48 tackles for the 2008 season, which brings his collegiate record total to 186 tackles. Beckwith has started at the position of middle linebacker for LSU for the past 3 years. His presence and speed on the field has been responsible for several turnovers this season. Beckwith was named to the Preseason First-Team All-SEC in 2008 and was on the 2007 Second-Team All-SEC team his junior year. Beckwith is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and played high school football at Parkview Baptist.
Perry Riley, a junior at LSU, has been quite a surprise in his efforts on the field this year. Riley has stated each game this season at the buck linebacker position and has a total of 49 tackles to his credit for the season. Riley was also responsible for 3 pass breakups, 3 quarterback rushes, a fumble recovery and an interception. Riley has proven his strength and abilities this year and will be a force to take notice of next season. Perry Riley is a native of Ellenwood, Georgia and played football at Stephenson High School.
Finalists for the Butkus Award are chosen by the 51 member Butkus Award Selection Committee which is composed of sports journalists, college and high school scouts, and other professionals in the field. The winner of the Butkus Award will be announced the week of December 8, 2008, with a reception to honor the winner on January 13, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois.
Other finalists include Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing from Southern Cal. LSU and Southern Cal were the only two teams honored with dual nominees this year.
The final 8 nominees for the Butkus Award are:
Rennie Curran from Georgia
Aaron Curry from Wake Forest
Mark Herzlich from Boston College
James Laurinaitis from Ohio State
Rolando McClain from Alabama
Clint Sintim from Virginia
Brandon Spikes from Florida
Sean Weatherspoon from Missouri