CHICAGO -- University of Miami senior Raphael Kirby was among the 51 players named to the preseason watch list for the 2015 Butkus Award, honoring the nation’s top linebacker.
Kirby, who enters the fall as one of the team’s most experienced veterans, started all 13 games at linebacker for the Hurricanes in 2014. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native finished with 54 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Kirby, who added two interceptions in a breakout junior season, is looking to become the second Hurricane to ever win the Butkus Award, joining Dan Morgan (2000). Kirby is one of five watch list representatives from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Denzel Perryman, who was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft by San Diego this past spring, was one of five finalists for the 2014 Butkus Award in his senior season.
Semi-finalists will be named November 2, finalists November 23, and winners will be notified on or before December 8. The Pro Butkus Award winner will be announced in early 2016.
The Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while helping spread the word about Butkus’ I Play Clean™ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of resorting to steroids and related drugs. More information is available at www.iplayclean.org and on Facebook at i.play.clean.
The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.com
and on Facebook at 51.butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. The Butkus Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which includes the 22 most prestigious awards in college football with 700 years of selection excellence. Visit www.NCFAA.org for more information.