FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas linebacker Sam Olajubutu has literally played his way onto the national scene in the Razorbacks’ first four games. The LaGrange, Ga., product was added to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list on Monday by The Rotary Club of Houston.
The Rotary Lombardi Award is celebrating its 36th year of honoring the finest linemen in college football. The 2005 winner will be announced on Dec. 7 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Downtown Houston. To be eligible for the Rotary Lombardi Award, a player must play on the line of scrimmage (including tight ends on offensive) or must be a linebacker who lines up within five yards of the football.
“I’m pleased that people around the country are taking notice of Sam Olajubutu,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “He has shown that he can make big plays against some of the top teams in the nation. Anytime you are among the SEC leaders in tackles, you are having a great season. We are looking for even more big things from ‘Butu’ this season.”
An initial list, based on 2004 postseason and 2005 preseason honors, was compiled prior to the start of the season. Olajubutu was one of several players garnering recognition as a mid-season addition on Monday.
Olajubutu leads the Razorbacks and ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in tackles with an average of 10.75 stops per game. His average also places him 18th in the nation in rankings compiled by press box totals. Olajubutu ranks eighth in the country in solo tackles per game with an average of 7.25 per contest.
Based on Arkansas coaches’ film, Olajubutu has compiled 53 tackles including four tackles for loss (-13). He has recorded double-digit tackle games in three of four outings in 2005. He made 15 tackles against Missouri State in the season opener. He recorded eight tackles against Vanderbilt before racking up 14 tackles against No. 1 USC. Eleven of his 14 stops against the Trojans were of the solo variety. In the Hogs’ last game, Olajubutu made 16 tackles including two tackles for loss (-10).
Olajubutu is the first Razorback to be named to the Lombardi Watch List since offensive tackle Shawn Andrews was one of four Lombardi Award finalists in 2003.