Alabama football success naturally makes Crimson Tide fans hungry for more championships and honors. Thus, when semifinalists for the Butkus Award – given to the nation’s best linebacker – were announced Monday, Bama fans couldn’t believe it.
Alabama has only two of the seminalists, seniors Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster. An on-the-street-poll in Tuscaloosa would likely fume that Tim Williams should also have been on the short list.
There were no complaints from the Tide camp when only one Alabama punter – junior JK Scott -- was on the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s best punter.
Anderson and Foster are two of 12 linebackers listed as semifinalists for the 32nd annual Butkus Award, presented by the Dick Butkus Foundation. Anderson, a native of Daphne, ranks second in the SEC with 11 1/2 tackles for loss (-61 yards) and is 10th in sacks with 4 1/2 (-38 yards) as part of his 29 total tackles. He has added three forced fumbles and five quarterback hurries to his season totals and has played a key role on an Alabama defense that is tops in the nation with 4 sacks per game. Foster, the team leader in tackles with 53, is the Tide’s main signal caller on the defense. He has collected 4 1/2 tackles for loss (-22 yards) and has 1 1/2 sacks (-15 yards). The senior from Auburn, Ala., has added four quarterback hurries and two pass breakups from his middle linebacker spot.
Scott is one of 66 candidates for the Ray Guy Award and was selected for the award for a third consecutive year thanks to his SEC-leading 47.5 yards per punt average on his 28 punts, which ranks second in the SEC. He is tied for fourth nationally in punting average and is in a tie for 13th nationally with 14 punts of 50-plus yards. Half of his punts have gone beyond 50 yards to rank him second in the nation for percentage of punts that travel over 50 yards, while he is also second nationally in 60-plus yard punts with four. In total, Scott has maintained a 41.3 net average on his boots while limiting the opposition to only 93 return yards through eight games.
Finalists for the Butkus Award will be announced Nov. 21, and winners will be announced on or before Dec. 6. The Ray Guy list will be narrowed to 10 semifinalists on Nov. 11, with three finalists being identified on Nov. 22. The Ray Guy Award winner will be announced during the College Football Awards Show on Dec. 8.