Alabama Team News

Alabama LB Reuben Foster named Butkus Award winner

Reuben Foster
Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

Alabama senior linebacker Reuben Foster has won the Butkus Award.

Dick Butkus, the award’s namesake, presented the award given annually to the nation’s top linebacker to Foster at the team’s banquet Sunday evening in Birmingham.

Foster leads No. 1 Alabama with 94 tackles, which includes 12 tackles for loss and four sacks. The Crimson Tide also ranks first nationally in total, scoring and run defense.

“Reuben Foster is a complete linebacker with the instincts, closing burst, explosion and on-field leadership traits that set the tone for the nation’s top defense,” the Butkus Award selection committee said in a statement. “He is a fearless striker who plays the game with intensity and passion. The way he Butkus. After finishing second to Jaylon Smith in the high school balloting four years ago, Foster distinguished himself in this year’s collegiate class.”

Foster received 77 points in the voting to become Alabama’s fourth Butkus Award winner – tied for the most of any one school in the nation. Derrick Thomas (1988), Rolando McClain (2009) and C.J. Mosley (2013) are the Crimson Tide’s past winners of the award.

Oklahoma also has four Butkus Award winners, though Brian Bosworth won two of them in 1985 and 1986.

Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham finished as runner-up behind Foster with 56 points and Florida’s Jarrad Davis came in third with 32 points. LSU’s Kendell Beckwith and Iowa’s Josey Jewell, the award’s other two finalists, rounded out the top five.

Alabama linebackers Ryan Anderson and Shaun Dion Hamilton, as well as Ohio State’s Raekwon McMillan and UCLA’s Jayon Brown received write-in votes for the Butkus Award.

Smith, now a rookie with the Dallas Cowboys, won the 2015 collegiate Butkus Award at Notre Dame after previously winning the high school version of the award in 2012 over Foster.

Butkus, 73, is considered one of the greatest football players of all time following after a playing career at Illinois and with the Chicago Bears. The Butkus Award was created in 1985.

After receiving the award, Foster wrote on Twitter that he was nervous talking about the fearsome former linebacker.

One day earlier, Foster was SEC championship game MVP honors for his performance in the Crimson Tide’s 54-16 win over Florida.

Foster also is a finalist for the Nagurski Award, along with Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen.

Including the Nagurski Award, Allen is a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Bednarik Award and the Hendricks Award.

Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts is a finalist for the Manning Award and junior left tackle Cam Robinson is a finalist for the Outland Trophy.

(You can follow Kevin Connell on Twitter @_KevinConnell)

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