Dick Butkus was one of the meanest, nastiest football players who ever took the field, a Hall of Fame linebacker for the University of Illinois and the Chicago Bears, the man who made No. 51 famous.
He was lovingly described by HOF defensive end Deacon Jones as "a well-conditioned animal, and every time he hit you, he tried to put you in the cemetery, not the hospital."
The University of Washington football program had the opportunity to see this madman up close when he led Illinois to a 17-7 victory over the Huskies in the 1964 Rose Bowl.
Two more UW players are getting an updated Dick Butkus tutorial right now after Edefuan Ulofoshio and Zion Tupuola-Fetui on Monday were named to the 51-player watch list for the Butkus Award — given to the nation's most outstanding college linebacker.
Alabama and Georgia have three linebackers included on the Butkus watch list, while the Huskies, Oklahoma, Penn State and Arkansas have two each.
Ulofoshio, in some circles, has been hailed as the nation's top returning inside linebacker and he's considered one of the Huskies' defensive leaders. A 6-foot-1, 240-pound sophomore from Las Vegas, he was named second-team All-Pac-12 last season.
Tupuola-Fetui, of course, is recovering from an Achilles tendon rupture and ensuing surgery, and his nomination may be nothing more than the organization recognizing a deserving player who is unfortunately inactive because of injury.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound sophomore from Pearl City, Hawaii, known as ZTF and a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2020, is questionable whether he can return in time to even play part of the coming season.
Other Pac-12 linebackers singled out for Butkus recognition are ASU's Merlin Robertson, Colorado's Nate Landman, Oregon's Noah Sewell, Oregon State's Avery Roberts., USC's Drake Jackson and Utah's Devin Lloyd.
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