Dont'a Hightower has been playing well enough to be winning awards in every game, and it was no…
Hightower, Upshaw Butkus Finalists
Thus it is never a surprise when an Alabama player is considered for an individual award. And there is no individual award for a defensive player that is more highly prized than the Butkus, which goes to the nation's top linebacker.
The Butkus Foundation has announced that Crimson Tide linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw were selected on Tuesday as two of the six finalists for the 27th annual Butkus Award.
Hightower, a fourth-year junior from Lewisburg, Tenn., and Upshaw, a native of Eufaula, are two of the leaders of the Crimson Tide's top-ranked defense. The pair has helped Alabama lead the nation in scoring defense (8.3 points per game), total defense (195.9 yards per game), rushing defense (74.6 yards per game), pass defense (121.3 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (81.8).
Hightower has a team-high 72 tackles on the season with 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Hightower is also responsible for the on-field calls and checks for the front seven. He has added one interception, one blocked field goal that resulted in a Bama touchdown, eight quarterback hurries and three pass breakups. Hightower is now a finalist for the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award.
Upshaw leads the team and ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 14 tackles for loss of 66 yards. He also has a team-high 6.5 sacks (-45), one interceptions return for a touchdown against Florida, a team-high 10 quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. He is now a finalist for both the Butkus Award and the Lombardi Award.
Other Butkus Award finalists include Nebraska's Lavonte David, Georgia's Jarvis Jones, Boston College's Luke Kuechly and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o.
The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel comprised of scouts, coaches and journalists. The Butkus Award draws attention to the ‘I Play Clean' campaign, which is aimed at ending steroid use in organized sports.
Dick Butkus was one of the finest linebackers in college and professional football history and is actively involved in the criteria and selection. He makes a personal, unannounced visit to the campus of the winner to make the presentation.
An Alabama player has won the Butkus Award on two previous occasions. Derrick Thomas was the Crimson Tide's first winner in 1988 and Rolando McClain captured the honor in 2009.
BamaMag.com Recommended Stories
Dr. Roto Video: Waiver Wire Wednesday
Dr. Roto believes Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry will overtake WR Brian Hartline as the team's No. 2 receiver sooner rather than later. Stay ahead of the curve with Dr. Roto!Read More
Giants Strike First In Game One Rout
The San Francisco Giants came out swinging in Game One of the 2014 World Series, scoring three times in the first inning and never looking back.Read More
Three of earth’s best ingredients combined into one succulent strip. Tailgaters will bow in appreciation.Read More
National Anthem Played with a Gun!
Musical targets? Yes, this guy plays the national anthem while shooting musical targets.Read More
Late Season Eastern Steel
NAFC friend, Frank Scalish, is best known for his achievements as a professional bass fisherman, but when the weather cools, the tourneys are over and the last bass has been weighed, he dons waders,…Read More
- **Running thread - A&M at 'Bama visitors [UPDATED]
- Longest TD run by UA QB since Blake Sims?
- Verne said we have a famous kicker.....
- Same coach, same coaches, same players, same fans A&M Recap
- Tonight I am the worlds biggest FSU fan...