Texas A&M senior Von Miller received the 2010 Butkus Award, which is given annually to the nation's top collegiate linebacker, in a surprise ceremony from the Award's namesake Dick Butkus on Tuesday at the Bright Football Complex on the Texas A&M campus.
Butkus, a member of the College Football and NFL Halls of Fame, presented the award to Miller at a regularly scheduled team meeting in the Hagner Auditorium amid loud cheers from his teammates. Other finalists for the award were Akeem Ayers of UCLA, Bruce Carter of North Carolina, Justin Houston of Georgia and Luke Kuechly of Boston College. The Butkus Award has been presented annually since 1985, and honors the nation's best high school, college and professional linebackers.
It was a sweet reward for the humble Miller, who considered entering the NFL Draft after posting a NCAA-best 17 QB sacks in 2009. Miller's return to the Aggies has helped the A&M defense return to Wrecking Crew status. After 12 games, A&M's defense has improved an average of 62 spots in the NCAA statistics in the four major defensive categories - total defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense and scoring defense. The Aggies led the Big 12 in rushing defense and rank in the top four in all four categories.
“We as a team are very proud of Von Miller’s accomplishments this year and winning the prestigious Butkus Award is the exclamation point to his senior season. As proud as I am of the football player he has become, I am even more proud of the man he has become. He has represented himself, his family, his team and Texas A&M impeccably. Although I will miss him when he leaves us after the bowl game, he has ignited an enthusiasm and passion with our team that will sustain us for years to come. He has worked extremely hard to achieve the level of success he is being recognized with this award. I am extremely happy for his success.”
As a senior at DeSoto High School in 2006, Von was named the District 8-5A Defensive Most Valuable Player after making 76 tackles, including six sacks and 14 tackles for loss of yardage (TFL).
Von came to A&M and made an immediate impact, where as a true freshman in 2007 Von was named to the Freshman All-Big 12 team by The Sporting News after posting 22 tackles including 10 solo stops, recording two quarterback sacks, four tackles for loss, and one forced fumble.
As a sophomore in 2008 Von becase know as a big play defender, notching 44 tackles including 25 solo stops, leading the team in sacks with 3.5, logging 7.5 tackles for loss and a pair of forced fumbles, and recovering two fumbles.
Von burst onto the national scene as a junior in 2009, when he led the nation in sacks (17) and was fifth in tackles for loss (1.65/game), with 21.5 of 48 tackles in 2009 (45 percent) were for loss. Von was a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 honoree and wasnamed a first-team All-America selection by The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, and a second-team All-America selection by The Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
Von would have been a high pick in the NFL draft had he chosen to go pro after his junior season, but chose come back for his senior season at Texas A&M. Von and new Aggie defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter led a resurrection of a new Aggie 'Wrecking Crew' defense in 2010. Already nam3ed a unanimous All-Big 12 selection at linebacker by The Associated Press this season, Miller was arguably the conference's most disruptive defender with 9.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for losses, six batted down passes, three forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles.