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Hightower, Burfict among Butkus Award semifinalists

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By PFW staff

Nominees were announced for the 27th annual Butkus Awards, which honor the nation's top linebackers.

There are 12 semifinalists from the NCAA, including five returning nominees and two from the University of Alabama — Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw. There are 15 high school semifinalists from 12 states.

The finalists will be announced on Nov. 22, and winners will be announced by Dec. 7. The professional winner will be announced in early 2012.

"This award is about honoring linebackers at all levels, and reminding them that they have a responsibility to serve as role models and to give back to society," said Hall of Fame LB Dick Butkus.

The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel coordinated by Pro Football Weekly publisher/editor Hub Arkush. Last year's winners were Packers OLB Clay Matthews, current Broncos OLB and former Texas A&M OLB Von Miller, and Tony Steward of St. Augustine, Fla., who is now playing at Clemson University.

Below are the semifinalists at each level:

 

Collegiate 2011 Butkus Award semifinalists

Zach Brown — University of North Carolina

Vontaze Burfict — Arizona State University

Audie Cole — North Carolina State University

Lavonte David — University of Nebraska

Dont'a Hightower* — University of Alabama

Luke Kuechly — Boston College

Travis Lewis* — University of Oklahoma

Keenan Robinson* — University of Texas

Sean Spence* — University of Miami (Fla.)

Manti Te'o* — University of Notre Dame

Courtney Upshaw — University of Alabama

Jarvis Jones — University of Georgia

*Denotes 2010 semifinalist

 

High school 2011 Butkus Award semifinalists

Kwon Alexander — Oxford High School, Ala.

Mike Barton — Concord De La Salle High School, Calif.

Josh Clemons — Valdosta-Lowndes High School, Ga.

Noor Davis — The Villages High School, Fla.

Trey Granier — Thibodaux High School. La.

Royce Jenkins-Stone — Cass Technical High School, Detroit, Mich.

Quanzell Lambert — Timber Creek High School, Sicklerville, N.J.

Dillon Lee — Buford High School, Ga.

Kwontie Moore — Norfolk Christian High School, Va.

Antonio Morrison — Bolingbrook High School, Ill.

Mario Ojemudia — Harrison High School, Farmington Hills, Mich.

Jordan Richmond — Ryan High School, Denton, Texas

Deaysean Rippy — Sto-Rox High School, McKees Rocks, Pa.

Jabari Ruffin — Downey High School, Calif.

Camren Williams — Catholic Memorial School, West Roxbury, Mass.

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