FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Junior Brooks Ellis earned a spot on the 2015 Butkus Award Watch List, it was announced Tuesday. In its 31st year, the award annually honors the nation’s best linebacker and is named after former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
Playing a pivotal role in one of college football’s top 10 defensive units last fall, the Fayetteville, Arkansas product participated in 11 games and ranked second on the team in total tackles (72), behind 2015 fifth round NFL Draft selection Martrell Spaight (128). The 6-2, 242-pound linebacker also forced two fumbles and nabbed two interceptions, both tying a team high.
Ellis will make a switch in 2015, moving from the Mike linebacker spot to the highly productive Will linebacker position vacated by Spaight. Last season Spaight led the Southeastern Conference in tackles and earned first team All-SEC honors.
Ellis is among 16 SEC linebackers tabbed to the 51-man watch list and is the seventh Razorback to garner a spot on a preseason watch list.
The awards’ semifinalists will be named Nov. 2, finalists Nov. 23 and winners will be notified on or before Dec. 8.
2015 Preseason Watch Lists
Maxwell Award – Jonathan Williams, Alex Collins
John Mackey Award – Hunter Henry
Outland Trophy – Denver Kirkland, Sebastian Tretola
Rimington Trophy – Mitch Smothers
Butkus Award – Brooks Ellis
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