Skip to content

Mid-season Butkus check: Who’s leading the pack?

Anthony Barr AP

Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o ran away with last year’s Butkus Award, the honor given to the nation’s top linebacker. He beat out such quality players as Kevin Minter of LSU, C.J. Mosely of Alabama, Jarvis Jones of Georgia and Dion Jordan of Oregon.

With the 2013 season at the mid-way point, here’s a look at the top candidates for this year’s Butkus Award:

1. Anthony Barr, Sr., UCLA — Barr has been lights-out for the Bruins thus far and is setting himself up to possibly be the first defensive player selected in the next NFL draft. Yes, he might get selected before Jadeveon Clowney. Why? Because he’s got size, speed, playmaking ability and, best of all, none of the drama that Clowney brings to the table. So far this season, he has 27 tackles, 10 of them for losses, four sacks and a nation-leading four forced fumbles. His disruptive presence has been one of the main reasons for UCLA’s first 5-0 start since 2005.

2. Shaquil Barrett, Sr., Colorado State — Barrett might be the best player you’ve never heard of. The senior leads the nation with 12.5 tackles for loss in his first six games. He’s also third nationally with 6.5 sacks, to go with two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. He had five tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, with a quarterback hurry, when the Rams played No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, then followed that up with three sacks and two forced fumbles against UTEP.

3. Kyle Van Noy, Sr., BYU — Van Noy was one of the favorites for the Butkus Award coming into the season and he has not disappointed. Thus far, the senior has 38 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, four pass break ups and an interception return for a touchdown. The likely first-round pick is a big reason why BYU’s defense is among the best in the nation.

4. Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford — Murphy has been lights out for the Cardinal this season, collecting 22 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five sacks, two pass breakups and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. He’s one of the best pass rushers in the nation and, at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, he still has the agility to drop into coverage or chase runners out of the backfield.

5. Khalil Mack, Sr., Buffalo — Mack is an underrated player who NFL scouts are drooling over. He showed his value early in the season with nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pick-six for a touchdown against Ohio State. On the year, he has 41 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five sacks, a forced fumble, three pass breaks ups and one interception.

Honorable mention: C.J. Mosely, Alabama; Ryan Shazier, Ohio State; Chris Borland, Wisconsin.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Alabama Crimson Tide, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, Colorado State Rams, Ohio State Buckeyes, Rumor Mill, Stanford Cardinal, Top Posts, UCLA Bruins, Wisconsin Badgers
12 Responses to “Mid-season Butkus check: Who’s leading the pack?”
  1. bigdinla says: Oct 13, 2013 8:06 PM

    CJ Mosley as honorable mention is a joke. He is a beast and has 48 tackles this season. You are letting the fact he is not a pass rusher influence way to much.

  2. padraighansen says: Oct 13, 2013 8:47 PM

    Borland dominated the game on Saturday. He’s a rock…. But not in the top 5?

  3. irishdodger says: Oct 13, 2013 9:35 PM

    Barr is a converted RB & is an absolute beast. And as Chris Huston noted, he doesn’t bring the drama that Clowney brings to a team. There’s a lot of football left to be played but Barr has to be a heavy favorite right now.

  4. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Oct 13, 2013 10:02 PM

    Jarvis Jones got shafted out of the award last year.

  5. soundsofsuccess7 says: Oct 13, 2013 10:30 PM

    Gonna be Barr/Van Noy.

  6. irishdodger says: Oct 13, 2013 10:50 PM

    Jarvis Jones got shafted out of nothing. He was a great pass rusher but a horrible run defender. In fact the entire Georgia defense wasn’t even among the top 75 in rush defense. As great as the SEC Champ game was, it was b/c of their vaunted offense…not that sieve of a defense that Bama ran at will against.

  7. cfballfan1 says: Oct 13, 2013 11:07 PM

    Max Bullough not being included on this list is a joke. Hes the tio player on one of the top 5 defenses in the country.

  8. soundsofsuccess7 says: Oct 13, 2013 11:57 PM

    Who is Max Bullough?

  9. detectivejimmymcnulty says: Oct 13, 2013 11:59 PM

    You’re an Irish fan so I expect homerism. How are you an Irish and Dodgers fan? Legit question no smartassness.

  10. dannygjay says: Oct 14, 2013 1:43 AM

    I’m not sure who’s making these list, but they obviously only watch games on the west coast. None have a prayer in hell

  11. bonerchamp says: Oct 14, 2013 9:55 AM

    Denzell Perryman should be in the top 10.

  12. logicalvoycesays says: Oct 15, 2013 2:06 AM

    Barr = Beast
    Barr Top 5 pick next year

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!