Nov. 27, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier was named one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, given annually to the best linebacker in college football.
Shazier, a top candidate for Big Ten defensive player of the year honors, leads the Big Ten with 108 tackles and 19.5 TFL, good for third nationally. His 77 solo stops rank him fourth in the NCAA.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native has turned his game up a notch in November, recording 36 tackles in his last two games. He recorded a career-high 20 tackles in the win vs. Indiana Nov. 23, tying two school records with 16 solo tackles and 5.0 TFL. Shazier became the first Buckeye since A.J. Hawk in 2004 to record a 20-tackle game while the the 16 solo tackles matched the record set by Tom Cousineau in 1978.
Shazier, who has five games this season with at least 10 tackles, tied the Big Ten record for most career Defensive Player of the Week honors with five and most in a single season with three.
Joining Shazier on the list is Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, Alabama’s C.J. Mosely, UCLA’s Anthony Barr and Stanford’s Shayne Skov.
Selection is completed by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists who follow all applicable rules involving player interaction. Winners will be announced by December 10.
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.
The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.com or facebook at 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.