We’re hardly surprised that Cal senior Evan Weaver was included Monday on the list of six finalists for the 35th annual Dick Butkus Award. It would have been virtually impossible to ignore his spectacular senior season.
The award, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker, will be presented early next month.
Based on his achievements, Weaver should get serious consideration as the Butkus winner.
Here are a few of his most impressive credentials:
— Leads the nation in total tackles (164), total tackles per game (14.9), solo tackles (90) and solo tackles per game (8.2)
— Ranks second on Cal's all-time single-season tackles list and is within three of Hardy Nickerson's all-time record of 167 in 1985
— Has 32 more total tackles (second, Dele Harding of Illinois, 132) and 11 more solo tackles (second, Nate Landman, Colorado, 79) than anyone else in the FBS
— On pace for 194 tackles in a 13-game campaign, which would be one more than the current NCAA record for total tackles in a season of 193 set in 14 games by Lawrence Flugence of Texas Tech in 2002
— Has twice helped secure victories by making stops on the opponent’s final offensive play, stuffing Ole Miss' John Rhys Plumlee on a QB sneak from the 1-yard line as time expired to preserve the first Pac-12 victory on the road at an SEC school since 2010 and then combining with Cameron Goode to stop Stanford's Cameron Scarlett on fourth-and-1 from their own 34-yard line to lift Cal to its first Big Game victory over the Cardinal since 2009
— Also has 10 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three pass breakups and five quarterback hurries.
— Leads the nation in personality. OK, I just made that last one up, but it’s true.
Here are the other five finalists and their numbers:
Zack Baun, Wisconsin: The 6-3, 235-pound senior outside linebacker has 53 tackles, including 16 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He has one interception, 10 quarterback hurries and has forced two fumbles for the 9-2 Badgers.
Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are just 4-7 but it’s not the fault of Brooks, who has 108 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss. The 6-1, 245-pound senior inside linebacker has three sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Micah Parsons, Penn State: A 6-3, 245-pound sophomore outside lineacker, Parsons has 85 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles for the 9-2 Nittany Lions.
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson: Simmons, a 6-4, 230-pound junior outside linebacker, has 74 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hurries, six sacks, five pass breakups and an interception for the defending national champions.
Logan Wilson, Wyoming: The 6-2, 250-pound senior middle linebacker has 88 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions, seven pass breakups and one forced fumble and one touchdown for the 7-4 Cowboys.