Penn State's Micah Parsons was named to the Butkus Award watch list Monday, the only returning finalist among the 51 preseason nominees.
The Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's top linebacker, is the third preseason award for which Parsons is nominated. The junior from Harrisburg, Pa., also is up for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy.
Last year, Parsons was among six finalists for the Butkus Award, named for Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus. The other five finalists, including winner Isaiah Simmons of Clemson, are in the NFL.
Parsons is the defending Big Ten linebacker of the year (an award named for Butkus and Pat Fitzgerald) and a returning consensus All-American.
He capped the season with a memorable performance against Memphis in the Cotton Bowl, making 14 tackles, two sacks and two pass breakups. Parsons also forced two fumbles, one of which led to a touchdown.
Founded in 1985 and expanded in 2008, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at the NFL, collegiate and high school levels. Two former Penn State linebackers have won the Butkus Award: LaVar Arrington in 1999 and Paul Posluszny in 2005.
As watch-list season rolls on, here's a list of Penn State's preseason awards candidates.
- Lott IMPACT Trophy: Linebacker Micah Parsons
- Chuck Bednarik Award: Linebacker Micah Parsons
- Davey O'Brien Award: Quarterback Sean Clifford
- Doak Walker Award: Running backs Journey Brown, Noah Cain
- Biletnikoff Award: Tight end Pat Freiermuth
- John Mackey Award: Tight end Pat Freiermuth
- Butkus Award: Linebacker Micah Parsons
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