First presented in 1985 and named after NFL Hall of Famer and University of Illinois All-American Dick Butkus, the annual college football honor recognized the best lineman in college football.
As might be expected, the names of players that appear on several watch lists are also present on the Butkus Award initial candidate list for 2014.
Two linebackers from Oklahoma and Two from Texas head the list as far as Big 12 names on the Butkus watch list.
Defensive standouts Frank Shannon and Eric Striker from Oklahoma are two prominent names on the list. Shannon led the Sooenrs in tackles in 2013 with 92 total. Striker was in on 50 tackles for the Sooners, but also was credited with 10.5 tackles for a loss and 6.5 quarterback sacks.
The two Longhorns on the Butkus Award watch list are Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks. Edmond contributed 73 total tackles in 2013, was third on the ream with two interceptions and second in pass breakups with five. Hicks, whose name also appears on the Brnko Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list, is a fourth-year linebacker. He has five career double-digit tackles games in 32 games (15 as a starter).
Three other Big 12 linebackers also warranted preseason watch consideration on the list.
Bryce Hager of Baylor is becoming a regular placement on the college football 2014 preseason watch list. The Baylor linebacker is on three other preseason watch lists: the Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi Award. Hager managed 71 total tackles (46 of them solo) in 2013 despite suffering a season-ending injury late in the season.
Ben Heeney of Kansas, another multi-award preseason candidate, was involved in 88 total tackles in his junior year in 2013, had 10 tackles for loss and the first three interceptions in his college career.
The final Big 12 player to make the Butkus Award preseason slate is Paul Dawson from TCU. Dawson led the Horned Frogs with 91 total tackles in 2013 and 10 tackles for a loss.