Ole Miss senior linebacker D.T. Shackelford is one of 51 candidates on the preseason watch list for the 29th annual Butkus Award®, which honors the nation’s best linebacker.
A vocal team leader, Shackelford will make his return to the playing field this fall after missing the last two years with knee injuries. The Decatur, Ala., native recorded 68 tackles, 11.0 TFLs, 5.0 sacks, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and an interception in 23 games played as a freshman and sophomore. He was a 2009 SEC All-Freshman pick and the 2011 Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner.
Shackelford was previously named to the preseason watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, as well. Other Rebels named to watch lists this preseason include Bo Wallace (Maxwell Award), Evan Swindall (Rimington Trophy) and Denzel Nkemdiche (Nagurski Trophy).
The Butkus Award is named after Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history. The selection panel is comprised of 51 coaches, evaluators and journalists. Players who do not appear on the watch list may be considered for the award.
The watch list includes 51 candidates from 37 universities. C.J. Mosley of Alabama is the only returning finalist, along with returning semi-finalists Jonathan Brown of Illinois, Max Bullough of Michigan State and Trent Murphy of Stanford.
Semi-finalists will be named October 28, finalists November 26, and winners will be notified on or before December 10.
2012 Butkus Award winners included Von Miller of the Denver Broncos (pro), Manti Te’o from Notre Dame (college) and Jaylon Smith of Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne, Ind. (high school).
About the Award
The Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while helping spread the word about Butkus’ I Play Clean™ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of resorting to steroids and related drugs. More information is available at www.iplayclean.org or at www.facebook.com/i.play.clean.
The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.com or www.facebook.com/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 www.NCFAA.org for more information. — Ole Miss Sports Information