Alabama senior linebacker Reuben Foster was selected as one of five finalists for the 2016 Butkus Award, the Dick Butkus Foundation announced Monday. The Butkus Award is presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
There’s a good chance the Butkus will go to a Southeastern Conference player this year. Foster is joined on the list by Kendall Beckwith (LSU), Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt), Jarrad Davis (Florida), and Josey Jewell (Iowa). This year’s winner will be selected by an independent panel of recruiters, scouts, coaches and journalists and will be announced on or by Dec. 6.
Alabama has had three players win the Butkus Award, including Derrick Thomas (1988), Rolando McClain (2009), and C.J. Mosley (2013). Last season, Crimson Tide star Reggie Ragland was a finalist.
Foster, Bama’s defensive signal-caller, has put together an impressive senior campaign, helping to lead one of the nation’s top-ranked defenses. He has collected a team-high 75 tackles while adding 9.0 tackles for loss (-39 yards) and two sacks (-18 yards). He has three quarterback pressures and a pair of pass breakups this season.
The award recognizes linebackers at three levels of competition while helping spread the word about Butkus’ ‘I Play Clean’ initiative which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude instead of resorting to steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.