On Monday, Arizona State linebacker Merlin Robertson was added to the Butkus Award watch list.
The Butkus Award honors the nation’s best linebacker and it kicked off its 37th annual selection process by announcing the collegiate and high-school preseason watch lists.
Each watch list contains 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
The collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 51 universities, including returning finalist Devin Lloyd of Utah and five returning semi-finalists.
Robertson would become the first Sun Devil to capture the award, although ASU linebacker position coach Chris Claiborne took home the honors in 1998.
Fellow Pac-12 linebackers Nate Landman (Colorado), Noah Sewell (Oregon), Drake Jackson (USC) and two Washington linebackers Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Edefuan Ulofoshio were also added to the watch list.
Robertson, who has started each year in his Arizona State career, was also on the watch list for the 2020 season. In four games, Robertson totaled 24 tackles with a forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception.
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Donnie Druin is a Deputy Editor with AllSunDevils. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin, and AllSunDevils @AllSunDevils. Like and follow AllSunDevils on Facebook, and for more ASU news visit https://www.si.com/college/arizonastate/