The Illinois Fighting Illini haven’t seen their players receive much recognition when it comes to this preseason’s watch lists. However, the team saw junior linebacker Mason Monheim named to the 2014 Butkus Award watch list this week.
Last season, Monheim recorded 97 total tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, and one forced fumble.
The Butkus Award is given annually to the top linebacker in major college football. The award recipient is chosen by the Butkus Award Selection Committee. Last year’s committee consisted of NFL head coaches, analysts, insiders, sports writers, general managers, and executives.
The award itself is named after famous Illinois linebacker and Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.
The Butkus Award has been presented to college linebackers since 1985.
Coming into his junior season, Mason Monheim will definitely be one of the main pieces of the Illini defense.
Throughout the award’s history, only two Illinois linebackers have won the Butkus Award. The Orange & Blue had back-to-back winners receive the award in 1994 (Dana Howard) and 1995 (Kevin Hardy).
We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Bentley, as he will look to help improve a “weak” Illinois defense in 2014.
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