The Butkus Award is named after Illini Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.
July 15, 2013
CHICAGO - Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown has been named to the watch list for the Butkus Award, which is goes to the nation's top linebacker each year and is named after Illinois Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.
Generally considered the greatest linebacker in football history, Butkus was an All-American at Illinois in 1963 and '64 and went on to star for the Chicago Bears from 1965-73. Illinois has had two previous Butkus Award winners, Dana Howard in 1994 and Kevin Hardy in 1995. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o won the award in 2012. The 2013 semifinalists will be named October 28, finalists November 26 and the winner will be notified on or before December 10.
Brown has now been named to three preseason watch lists this month, as he was named to the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award defensive player of the year watch lists last week. Brown also has been named to the College Football Performance Awards linebacker watch list and was a preseason first-team All-Big Ten selection by Phil Steele.
Brown was a Butkus Award semifinalist and honorable mention All-Big Ten selection in 2012 despite missing the final three games of the season with a shoulder injury and missing significant portions of four other games due to injury. Brown was leading the Illini with 59 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks before having his season cut short. He had a breakout 2011 season, earning All-Big Ten honors with 108 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. He ranked sixth in the nation in TFLs per game (1.63) and led the Big Ten in TFLs per game during conference play (2.07).
2013 Illinois Preseason Honors (as of July 15)
Jonathan Brown, LB - Butkus Award Watch List (LB), Nagurski Trophy Watch List (Def. POY), Bednarik Award Watch List (Defensive POY), CFPA Linebacker Watch List, First Team All-Big Ten (Phil Steele)
Justin DuVernois, P - Ray Guy Award Watch List (punter), CFPA Punter Watch List, Second Team All-Big Ten (Phil Steele)
Mason Monheim, LB - Fourth Team All-Big Ten (Phil Steele)
Taylor Zalewski, PK - CFPA Specialist Watch List
Season tickets for the 2013 Illinois football season, which includes seven home games, are on sale now for as low as $99. The Fighting Illini also will host the Chicago Homecoming game at historic Soldier Field on Sept. 14 against Washington. Tickets for the Chicago Homecoming game start at $30 and are on sale now.