Leonard Named To Butkus Award Watch List
CHICAGO — The Butkus Award honoring the nation’s best linebackers kicked off its 33rd annual selection process Monday by announcing its collegiate preseason watch list. SC State and 2016 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year Darius Leonard was named to the preseason list.
Mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey of the award’s namesake Dick Butkus, whom NFL Films considers the best defensive player in football history, each watch list features 51 players identified by a 51-person selection panel of deeply experienced coaches, talent evaluators and journalists. Appearance on the watch list is not required to become a winner.
The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 42 universities, including six returning semifinalists and one returning finalist, Josey Jewell of Iowa.
Semifinalists will be named Oct. 30, finalists on Nov. 20 and winners will be notified on or before Dec. 5. The professional winner will be announced in early 2018.