HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss junior linebacker Korey Williams has been selected to The Butkus Award Watch List announced today. He is the lone Conference USA representative on the list.
Williams established a Southern Miss single-season record last season with 77 assisted tackles and led the squad in total stops with 121. He also posted 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks to go along with three forced fumbles and two recoveries. He was named to the preseason All-C-USA team by the league's head coaches.
Instituted in 1985, The Butkus Award is one of the elite individual honors in college football. This year, The Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, takes stewardship of the award and comes home to Chicago to fully realize the original purpose of honoring athletic achievement and service to the community while honoring the nation's best high school, college, and professional linebackers. An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.
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The Butkus Award sets out to recognize those qualities that defined Dick Butkus' career, heavily factoring the following five traits: toughness (playing through pain with a warrior mentality), on-field leadership (intimidating presence and respected tone-setter), competitiveness (passion, intensity and relentless effort), football character (work ethic, drive and determination) and linebacking skills (instincts, tackling, striking, balance, knee bend, shedding, cover skills, blitzing).
In 2008, Butkus took stewardship of the Award with the intent to support the "I Play Clean campaign" aimed at educating the youth of America and the world on the dangers of performance enhancing drugs. On top of honoring the top collegiate linebacker, recognized since1985, the Butkus Foundation began to pay tribute to the top linebacker at the high school and professional levels.
The Butkus Committee is comprised of 51 voters stemming from the NFL, college and high school ranks, including many NFL general managers and head coaches, NCAA head coaches and defensive coordinators and seasoned NFL talent evaluators who have been heavily exposed to the nation's top linebackers. The committee was initially constructed to equally represent all regions of the country to eliminate any bias. Neither Dick nor any of his family are members of the committee.
Past recipients of the Butkus Award include such outstanding linebackers as: Rolando McClain (2009- Alabama), Aaron Curry, (2008- Wake Forest), James Laurinitis (2007 - Ohio State), Patrick Willis (2006-Mississippi), Paul Posluszny (2005-Penn State); Derrick Johnson (2004-Texas) Teddy Lehman (2003-Oklahoma); E.J. Henderson (2002-Maryland); Rocky Calmus (2001-Oklahoma); Dan Morgan (2000-Miami (FL); LaVar Arrington (1999-Penn State); Chris Claiborne (1998-Southern California); Andy Katzenmoyer (1997-Ohio State); Matt Russell (1996 Colorado); Kevin Hardy (1995-Illinois); Dana Howard (1994-Illinois); Trev Alberts (1993-Nebraska); Marvin Jones (1992-Florida State); Erick Anderson (1991-Michigan); Alfred Williams (1990-Colorado); Percy Snow (1989-Michigan State); Derrick Thomas (1988-Alabama); Paul McGowan (1987-Florida State); and Brian Bosworth (1985 and 1986-Oklahoma).
This is the third watch list that Williams has been named to this preseason with the others including the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.