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Te'o, Smith are Butkus Award winners

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By PFW staff

LBs Manti Te'o of Notre Dame and Jaylon Smith of Bishop Luers High School were selected the winners of the 28th annual Butkus Award on Monday.

The award recognizes the best linebacker in the country at his respective level, with selections being made by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly.

Te'o, who was the first ever High School Butkus winner in 2008, has his Fighting Irish in the BCS championship game against Alabama on Jan. 7 after a dominant campaign in which he recorded 103 tackles and made seven interceptions while garnering some Heisman Trophy buzz. He finished 29 points ahead of Georgia LB Jarvis Jones in the Butkus Award voting system (83-54). Alabama LB C.J. Mosley finished third (21).

Smith, whose school is located in Fort Wayne, Ind., is a senior who has verbally committed to play at Notre Dame. He received a surprise call from Dick Butkus to congratulate him and will be recognized publicly on Dec. 15.

The professional Butkus Award will be presented in January. The three award winners will be featured in a TV special produced by PFW, which will air in late January.

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