Leake Named to Butkus Watch List

Clemson linebacker John Leake has been named to the list of preseason Butkus Award candidates as announced by the Butkus Award committee. Leake is a senior from Plano, TX in his third season as a starting linebacker for the Tigers.

The Award is named after all-time great college and pro linebacker Dick Butkus. The award will be presented to the nation's top linebacker on December 12, 2003 in Orlando. Leake was one of nine ACC players named to the preseason list. The others are Darryl Blackstock and Ahmad Brooks of Virginia, Michael Bouleware and Kendyll Pope of Florida State, Daryl Smith and Keyron Fox of Georgia Tech, Ryan Fowler of Duke and Joe Leon of Maryland.

Leake has 312 career tackles, including 169 last year when he ranked fourth in the nation. His tackle total was fifth best in school history for a single season. A starter in 25 consecutive games, he is tied for 13th in Clemson history in career tackles entering this season. He reached double figures in tackles in 11 of the 13 games a year ago.

Leake is one of three Clemson players on preseason award lists for 2003. Earlier, Justin Miller was named as a preseason candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the top defensive back in the nation, and Aaron Hunt was named to the Lou Groza Award list, which is given to the nation's top placekicker.

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