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Clemson Football

Skalski, Spector Named to Butkus Award Watch List

July 28, 2021

The Butkus Foundation announced today that Clemson linebackers James Skalski and Baylon Spector have been named as two of 51 players on the watch list for the collegiate Butkus Award. Additional information from award organizers is attached and included below.

CHICAGO – (July 26, 2021) – The Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s best linebackers kicked off its 37th annual selection process today by announcing its collegiate and high school preseason watch lists.

Each watch list contains 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.

The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 51 universities, including returning finalist Devin Lloyd of Utah and five returning semi-finalists.

The High School Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 51 secondary schools across 26 states, with Texas (6), Georgia (5) and Florida (4) fielding the most candidates.

Semi-finalists are expected to be named Nov. 1, finalists Nov. 22, and winners on or before Dec. 7. Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.

The 2020 Butkus Award winners:

Collegiate: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (now Cleveland Browns)

High School: Prince Kollie, David Crockett, Jonesborough, Tenn. (now Notre Dame)

Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs.

The Butkus Award is partnering with Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage to celebrate Butkus Award winners. The event is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Contact the Butkus Foundation for ticket and sponsorship information.

The Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation and selected by a 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists. The award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935. Visit for more information.

Christopher Allen    Alabama
Will Anderson    Alabama
Christian Harris    Alabama*
Merlin Robertson    Arizona State
Grant Morgan    Arkansas*
Bumper Pool    Arkansas
Zakoby McClain    Auburn
Terrel Bernard    Baylor
James Patterson    Buffalo
Payton Wilgar    BYU
James Skalski    Clemson
Baylon Spector    Clemson
Nate Landman    Colorado*
Ventrell Miller    Florida
Amari Gainer    Florida State
Adam Anderson    Georgia
Nakobe Dean    Georgia*
Quay Walker    Georgia
Jake Hansen    Illinois
Micah McFadden    Indiana
Mike Rose    Iowa State
Damone Clark    LSU
Lakia Henry    Mississippi
Sam Williams    Mississippi
Blaze  Alldredge    Missouri
Jeremiah Gemmel    North Carolina
Payton Wilson    North Carolina State
Jackson Hankey    North Dakota State
Chris Bergin    Northwestern
Brian Asamoah    Oklahoma
Nik Bonnito    Oklahoma
Malcolm Rodriguez    Oklahoma State
Noah Sewell    Oregon
Avery Roberts    Oregon State
Jesse Luketa    Penn State
Brandon Smith    Penn State
Olakunle Fatukasi    Rutgers*
Jordan Strachan    South Carolina
Mikel Jones    Syracuse
Demarvion Overshown    Texas
Aaron Hansford    Texas A&M
Colin Schooler    Texas Tech
Carlton Martial    Troy
Drake Jackson    USC
Devin Lloyd    Utah**
Anfernee Orji    Vanderbilt
Nick Jackson    Virginia
Zion Tupuola-Fetui    Washington
Edefuan Ulofoshio    Washington
Jack Sanborn    Wisconsin
Chad  Muma    Wyoming
Note:  * Returning semi-finalist, ** returning finalist        

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