Ty Summers

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Butkus Award names 51 linebackers to 2018 watch list

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College football watch list season resumed Monday with the release of the Butkus Award and Jim Thorpe Award watch lists. The Butkus Award watch list named 51 linebackers to its preseason list, including players from 41 different schools.

This year’s watch list is highlighted by finalists for the 2017 Butkus Award in Devin Bush of Michigan and T.J. Edwards of Wisconsin. Josh Allen of Kentucky and Cameron Smith of USC are also on the list after being a semi-finalist last year. Former high school Butkus Award winners Caleb Kelly of Oklahoma and Dylan Moses of Alabama also were named to the list.

Alabama and Wisconsin lead the nation with three Butkus Award watch list players each. Ryan Connelly and Andrew Van Ginkel join Edwards of Wisconsin and Anfernee Jennings and Mack Wilson of Alabama are also included.

The list will be trimmed down to a list of semi-finalists on October 29 and then down to a smaller list of finalists on November 19. Georgia running back Roquan Smith won the award last year.

2018 Butkus Award Watch List

Curtis Akins, Memphis
Otaro Alaka, Texas A&M
Josh Allen, Kentucky
Jeffrey Allison, Fresno State
Azeez Al-Shaair, Florida Atlantic
Joe Bachie, Michigan State
Markus Bailey, Purdue
Thomas Barber, Minnesota
Bryton Barr, Massachusetts
Tevis Bartlett, Washington
Devin Bush, Michigan
Josh Buss, Montana
Te’von Coney, Notre Dame
Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin
Deshaun Davis, Auburn
Troy Dye, Oregon
Koa Farmer, Penn State
Paddy Fisher, Northwestern
Joe Giles-Harris, Duke
Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas
Porter Gustin, USC
Nate Hall, Northwestern
Terez Hall, Missouri
Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State
Darius Harris, Middle Tennessee
De’Jon Harris, Arkansas
Khalil Hodge, Buffalo
Justin Hollins, Oregon
Oluwaseun Idowu, Pitt
Anfernee Jennings, Alabama
Gary Johnson, Texas
Kendall Joseph, Clemson
Caleb Kelly, Oklahoma
Jordan Kunaszyk, California
Tre Lamar, Clemson
Dylan Moses, Alabama
Bobby Okereke, Stanford
Justin Phillips, Oklahoma State
Germaine Pratt, N.C. State
Shaq Quarterman, Miami
David Reese, Florida
Cameron Smith, USC
Ty Summers, TCU
Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
Andrew Van Ginkel, Wisconsin
D’Andre Walker, Georgia
Devin White, LSU
Mack Wilson, Alabama
Juwon Young, Marshall

TCU LB Sammy Douglas out for year, DE James McFarland could be too

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If there was one thing TCU had working in its favor a year ago en route to a 11-1 season and a trip to the Peach Bowl, it was the uncanny ability to stay healthy. One week into the 2015 season and already TCU could be down a couple of defensive players for the rest of the season.

On Tuesday TCU head coach Gary Patterson announced starting linebacker Sammy Douglas will miss the remainder of the season due to an undisclosed injury. Patterson also suggested defensive end James McFarland could also be out for some time, even as long as the rest of the season due to a foot injury. The loss of one of these two players would be a significant loss for a defense that is already tasked with filling key spots on the depth chart this season. Losing both would be even more complicated.

Last season saw McFarland lead TCU with seven sacks. He also returned an interception for a touchdown while also recording 12 tackles for a loss. Douglas had just 17 tackles last season but he made up for a lack of stats in playing experience as a junior. Without Douglas, TCU will turn to some youth with Mike Freeze or Ty Summers continuing to fill his spot on the depth chart.

Given Patterson’s history, you would think he will find a way to work things out on defense this season to help keep the Horned Frogs in Big 12 and playoff contention. But the loss of two key defensive players like this hurts those chances a bit. How much it costs TCU remains to be seen.