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Sun Devils Linebacker Merlin Robertson Added to Dick Butkus Award Watch List

Fifth-year linebacker Merlin Robertson was added to the watch list for college football's top linebacker award.

The Arizona State Sun Devils had another one of their players added to a preseason watch list for a college football honor award this offseason after running back Xazavian Valladay was added to the Doak Walker Award list last week. This time, it comes in the form of linebacker Merlin Robertson.

Robertson, who is going into his fifth season with the Sun Devils, was added to the Dick Butkus Award preseason watch list upon its release. The award is handed out to the top linebacker in college football as voted for by the Butkus Foundation. The award's most recent winner was Nakobe Dean of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Seeing Robertson added to this list is a very exciting honor. He will have stiff competition for the award, with Alabama's Will Anderson being one of the favorites to win. Robertson would be the first Sun Devil to win the award, should he pull off this feat.

During his four seasons with the Sun Devils, Robertson has amassed 235 career tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Robertson has also reeled in six interceptions, including a 37-yard pick-six against the Washington Huskies a year ago, along with three forced fumbles and four recoveries.

The long-tenured linebacker's finest season came when he was a freshman. Robertson notched a career-best 77 tackles with 8.5 going for a loss and five sacks. Robertson was named a freshman All-American for his remarkable season.

Robertson has yet to surpass any of those since that season, although he has remained an important cog in the middle of the Sun Devils' defense.

With 2022 likely being Robertson's swan song in Tempe, it is certainly a nice gesture to see Robertson added to arguably college football's most prestigious linebacker award watch list. Should Robertson find a way to regain the magic he showed as a freshman, it would certainly make his addition to the list very much valid.