Highsmith named Butkus semifinalist

LSU linebacker Ali Highsmith is one of 10 players from across the country who has been named as semifinalists for the Butkus Award, the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando announced on Thursday.

The Butkus Award is presented annually to the top linebacker in college football.

Joining Highsmith on the list include H.B. Blades of Pittsburgh, Buster Davis of Michigan, James Laurinaitis of Ohio State, Rey Maualuga of Southern Cal, Sam Olajubutu of Arkansas, Paul Posluszny of Penn State, Brandon Siler of Florida and Patrick Willis of Ole Miss.

In seven games this year, Highsmith has recorded 26 tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses and a sack for the 14th-ranked Tigers. He also has a forced fumble, two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry to his credit this season.

Highsmith has played a key role in LSU's dominating defense as the Tigers are ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 211 yards per game, and they are No. 2 in scoring defense (8.6 points per game).

Highsmith, a junior from Miami, has played in 32 games in his LSU career, starting 18 times. He has 122 tackles, 13 tackles for losses and six sacks to his credit during his three years with the Tigers.

The 10 semifinalist will be cut down to three finalists on Thursday, Nov. 9. The winner will be announced Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Butkus Award Gala in Orlando, FL. The Butkus Award will be presented to the winner by the award's namesake former University of Illinois and Chicago Bear NFL Hall of Fame member, Dick Butkus.

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