Oct. 14, 2004

Orlando — The Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc. (DACO) has announced the 12 semifinalists for this year’s Butkus Award®, which is awarded annually to the best linebacker in college football. There are 12 semifinalists instead of the usual ten because of a tenth-place tie in the Selection Committee voting.

The list was determined by confidential balloting of the 30-member Butkus Award® Selection Committee, comprised of the nation’s foremost media members. The Selection Committee made their selections from the initial Butkus Award® Watch List of 68 college linebackers, which was announced back on August 19, 2004. The independent selection committee is solely responsible for all voting in the selection process. The Selection Committee members have already started evaluating the semifinalists and will continue their review throughout the entire football season.

On Thursday, November 11, 2004, DACO will announce the three finalists for this year’s Butkus Award® at a national press/teleconference in Orlando. The winner will be announced Friday, December 10, 2004 at the black-tie Butkus Award Gala. The Butkus Award® will be presented to the winner by the award’s namesake former University of Illinois and Chicago Bear NFL Hall of Fame member, Dick Butkus. The finalists, their coaches and families are invited to attend the Butkus Award® Gala festivities including a welcome reception, golf tournament and silent auction. Former award winner and current ESPN college football analyst Trev Alberts will once again be the master of ceremonies.

The 12 semi-finalists (in alphabetical order) for the 2004 Butkus Award® are:
Michael Boley, Southern Miss
Ahmad Brooks, Virginia
Kevin Burnett, Tennessee
Channing Crowder, Florida
Matt Grootegoed, USC
Spencer Havner, UCLA
A.J. Hawk, Ohio State
Derrick Johnson, Texas
Lance Mitchell, Oklahoma
Kirk Morrison, San Diego St.
Odell Thurman, Georgia
Leon Williams, Miami (FL)

The Butkus Award ® is regarded as one of the most elite individual honors in college football. Past recipients include such outstanding linebackers as: Teddy Lehman (2003-Oklahoma); E.J. Henderson (2002-Maryland); Rocky Calmus (2001-Oklahoma); Dan Morgan (2000-U. of Miami); LaVar Arrington (1999-Penn State); Chris Claiborne (1998-Southern California); Andy Katzenmoyer (1997-Ohio State); Matt Russell (1996 Colorado); Kevin Hardy (1995-Illinois); Dana Howard (1994-Illinois); Trev Alberts (1993-Nebraska); Marvin Jones (1992-Florida State); Erick Anderson (1991-Michigan); Alfred Williams (1990-Colorado); Percy Snow (1989-Michigan State); Derrick Thomas (1988-Alabama); Paul McGowan (1997-Florida State); and Brian Bosworth (1985 and 1986-Oklahoma). Created in 1985 by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando Inc., the Butkus Award® carries the name and support of one of the greatest middle linebackers in football history, Dick Butkus.