Adonis Thomas

Butkus Award tabs 15 semifinalists

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The Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker, announced 15 semifinalists on Monday:

Stephone Anthony, Clemson
Myles Jack, UCLA
Jordan Jenkins, Georgia
A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
Eric Kendricks, UCLA
Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
Denzel Perryman, Miami (Fla.)
Hayes Pullard, USC
Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Jake Ryan, Michigan
Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Eric Striker, Oklahoma
Shaq Thompson, Washington
Ramik Wilson, Georgia

Of these guys, Kendricks leads with 93 tackles while Kikaha’s 19 1/2 tackles for a loss top all FBS players.

There’s a noticeable skew toward two conferences here: The Pac-12 has five players on the list, while the SEC has four. Two ACC linebackers made the list, while one from the Big Ten, Big 12 and independent ranks made it.

The Butkus Award is also presented to the nation’s top high school linebacker (Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith won it in 2012). The 15 semifinalists for that award:

Jerome Baker, Benedictine – Cleveland, Ohio (Ohio State)
Josh Barajas, Andrean – Merrillville, Ind. (Notre Dame)
Mekhi Brown, Carver – Columbus, Ga. (Alabama)
Ricky DeBerry, Atlee High School – Richmond, Va. (uncommitted)
Porter Gustin, Salem Hills – Salem, Utah (uncommitted)
Justin Hilliard, St. Xavier – Cincinnati, Ohio (Ohio State)
Jeffery Holland, Trinity Christian Academy – Jacksonville, Fla. (uncommitted)
John Houston, Junipero Serra – Gardena, Calif. (uncommitted)
Malik Jefferson, Ralph H. Poteet – Mesquite, Texas (uncommitted)
Leo Lewis, Brookhaven – Brookhaven, Miss. (Ole Miss)
Osa Masina, Brighton – Salt Lake City, Utah (uncommitted)
Joshua McMillon, Whitehaven – Memphis, Tenn. (Alabama)
Sherrod Pittman, First Coast – Jacksonville, Fla. (South Carolina)
Jahvoni Simmons, Ocean Lakes – Virginia Beach, Va. (Virginia)
Adonis Thomas, Central Gwinnett – Lawrenceville, Ga. (uncommitted)