The Dick Butkus Award has been given out to the best linebacker at the high school, college and professional level since the 2008 season. From 1985 through 2008 it was strictly a collegiate award. This year’s winner at the collegiate level was Devin White of LSU, and the high school winner was Nakobe Dean of Horn Lake, Miss.
The other finalists are Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers, Darius Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts, Von Miller of the Denver Broncos, Jaylon Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, and Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks.
Mack is trying to become the first ever Bear player to win the award named after Hall Of Famer and Bears’ legend, Dick Butkus. Bears’ rookie Roquan Smith won this award last year as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Butkus Award selection committee is made up of 51 football coaches, recruiters, talent scouts and journalists. When picking a winner, this committee is asked to look for qualities that defined Dick Butkus’ legendary career such as toughness, on-field leadership, competitiveness, football character, and linebacking skills.
Here’s more from their press release.
The Award is a vehicle to promote health and wellness initiatives including the Butkus Takes Heart™ cardiovascular wellness program and the I Play Clean® program to champion natural training, nutrition and intensity.
The trophy inscription reflects Dick Butkus’ commitment to philanthropic efforts: “When a player receives the Butkus Award he will know two things. First, he is recognized as the best of the best linebackers in the country. Second, and in the long run most important, he will understand that this recognition brings a responsibility to serve others by giving back.” – Dick Butkus.