PISCATAWAY, N.J. (July 16, 2012) – The 28th annual Butkus Award selection process began Monday with the Butkus Foundation’s announcement of its preseason watch list, which includes Rutgers football linebackers Steve Beauharnais (Saddle Brook, N.J.) and Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth, N.J.). The Scarlet Knights’ senior duo place RU as one of 10 schools in the nation with at least two players on the list for the award given annually to college football’s top linebacker,
Greene, the 2011 BIG EAST Co-Defensive Player of the Year, recorded 141 tackles last season to lead the conference and rank 12th nationally. Greene received All-America honors in 2011 by SI.com and Phil Steele and is a 2012 Preseason All-America selection. He has previously been named to preseason watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Beauharnais has played in every game of his three-year career, ranking second on the squad with 77 tackles in 2011. He led RU with 16.0 tackles-for-loss, with his 1.25 tackle-for-loss per game average ranking in a tie for 32nd nationally. Beauharnais is a Preseason All-BIG EAST selection by Athlon and Phil Steele.
The two Scarlet Knights served as key members of RU’s stingy defense last season, helping the unit rank 14th nationally in total defense and eighth in scoring defense. Rutgers’ defense was one of the best in the country at taking the ball from its opponent, tying for fifth in turnovers gained (31).
The watch list contains 51 candidates, honoring the now-retired professional jersey number of Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history. The selection panel is comprised of 51 coaches, evaluators and journalists, coordinated by Pro Football Weekly.
Candidates in addition to those appearing on the watch list may be considered for the Award. Semifinalists will be named Oct. 22, finalists on Nov. 20 and winners will be notified on or before Dec. 4.
The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.com or www.facebook.com/51.butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. It is part of the National College Football Awards Association, a coalition of the major collegiate awards. More information is available at www.NCFAA.org.