Butkus Finalist

ORLANDO- The Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc. (DACO), the organization which annually presents the prestigious Butkus Award to the nation's best collegiate linebacker has announced Alabama's DeMeco Ryans as one of the three finalists for this year's award. The others were A.J. Hawk of Ohio State and Paul Posluszny of Penn State.

"It is a great honor, by far the greatest honor I have received," Alabama senior strongside linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "I give my teammates all the credit for me being here."

"It is an honor for me" added Tide Head Coach Mike Shula. "DeMeco is one of the first guys I met when I got here. It is special for me because Shane Conlan, Cornelius Bennett and Chris Spielman, that was my senior year here and I got to play with Biscuit (Bennett's nickname) and also Derrick Thomas. The only reason I bring that up is Joe Kines was our coordinator back then, he is our coordinator now and that's the first thing he said to me was DeMeco has a chance to be the best linebacker that's ever been here. He has been a true leader on and off the field and one of our most respected players for what he does and what he stands for."

Each represented school has had one previous Butkus Award winner. The list of past Butkus Award winners representing the 2005 finalist's schools include: LaVar Arrington (Penn State-1999); Andy Katzenmoyer (Ohio State-1997) and the late Derrick Thomas (Alabama-1988).

Other Butkus Award finalists have been represented by Penn State's Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989) and Brandon Short (1999); Alabama's Keith McCants (1989) and Cornelius Bennett (1986) and for Ohio State, Chris Spielman was a finalist in 1986 and 1987.

In 1986 all three schools had Butkus Award finalists with Conlan, Bennett and Spielman, where that year's award went to Oklahoma's Brain Bosworth for his second Butkus Award honor. Bosworth is the only linebacker to win the Butkus Award twice. In 1991, the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando went from five to three finalists.

The 2005 Butkus Award winner will be announced Saturday, December 10, 2005 at the Butkus Award Gala at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Butkus Award will be presented to the winner by the award's namesake former University of Illinois and Chicago Bears NFL Hall of Fame member Dick Butkus.

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