Butkus Award


Instituted in 1985, The Butkus Award® is one of the elite individual honors in college football. In 2008, The Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, took stewardship of the award to fully realize the original purpose of honoring athletic achievement and service to the community while honoring the nation’s best high school, college, and professional linebackers. An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee comprised of 51 experts, including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, conduct the selection process.

The Butkus Award® is named for former University of Illinois and Chicago Bears star Dick Butkus. Butkus was a center and linebacker at Illinois earning unanimous All-American honors in 1963 and 1964. He was then drafted with the third overall pick in the 1965 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears where he eventually made eight Pro Bowls in a nine-year career as a linebacker. Butkus is still regarded as one of the most ferocious defenders in NFL history, and one of the league’s most violent tacklers of all-time. He is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame (1983) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1979).


Other Resources

The Butkus Award
The Butkus Foundation
Current Watch List
Dick Butkus Facebook Page



List of Winners

YearWinnerSchoolCL
2016Reuben FosterAlabamaSR
2015Jaylon SmithNotre DameJR
2014Eric KendricksUCLASR
2013C.J. MosleyAlabamaSR
2012Manti Te'oNotre DameSR
2011Luke KuechlyBoston CollegeJR
2010Von MillerTexas A&MSR
2009Rolando McClainAlabamaJR
2008Aaron CurryWake ForestSR
2007James LaurinaitisOhio StateSR
2006Patrick WillisOle MissSR
2005Paul PoslusznyPenn StateJR
2004Derrick JohnsonTexasSR
2003Teddy LehmanOklahomaSR
2002E.J. HendersonMarylandSR
2001Rocky CalmusOklahomaSR
2000Dan MorganMiami (FL)SR
1999LaVar ArringtonPenn StateJR
1998Chris ClaiborneUSCSR
1997Andy KatzenmoyerOhio StateSO
1996Matt RussellColoradoSR
1995Kevin HardyIllinoisSR
1994Dana HowardIllinoisSR
1993Trev AlbertsNebraskaSR
1992Marvin JonesFlorida StateJR
1991Erick AndersonMichiganSR
1990Alfred WilliamsColoradoSR
1989Percy SnowMichigan StateSR
1988Derrick ThomasAlabamaSR
1987Paul McGowanFlorida StateSR
1986Brian BosworthOklahomaJR
1985Brian BosworthOklahomaSO