Presented annually since 1985, "Linebacker U." All-Americans LaVar Arrington (1999) and Paul Posluszny (2005) are former winners of the Butkus Award. Nittany Lions Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor (2007) were finalists for the Butkus Award.
Most recently, Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti were both named semifinalists for the award in 2012, making Penn State the only school with multiple semifinalists for the prestigious award.
A first-team preseason All-Big Ten selection by Athlon Sports and Lindy’s, Hull is ready to add his name to the long line of “Linebacker U.” products from the Pittsburgh area during the Big Ten era — including the likes of Arrington, Sean Lee, Posluszny and Short. Last season, he was second on the team with 78 tackles (44 solo) last year despite missing two full games and most of two others due to injury. He added 4.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one forced and one recovered fumble.
The Canonsburg, Pa. native ranked fifth in the conference with 9.1 tackles per game in Big Ten play, making at least nine tackles in six Big Ten games. Hull came up huge on some of the biggest stages, recording 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss on Michigan’s final drive of regulation, and an athletic pass breakup, in the four-overtime win over the No. 18 Wolverines. He logged a career-high 13 stops – seven solo – in an overtime victory against Illinois and made a team-best seven tackles in the season finale win at No. 14 Wisconsin.
The Butkus Award honors outstanding linebackers at three levels of play - high school, college and professional. Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School.
An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly’s Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.
The Nittany Lions now have six players on six different preseason watch lists: Kyle Carter (Mackey Award – Nation’s Top Tight End), Christian Hackenberg (Maxwell Award – College Football MVP), Mike Hull (Butkus – Nation’s Top Linebacker). Jesse James (Mackey Award – Nation’s Top Tight End), Jordan Lucas (Bednarik – Defensive Player of the Year, Thorpe – Nation’s Top Defensive Back) and Donovan Smith (Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Interior Lineman).
-PSU Athletic Communications
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