Butkus Award Watch List Manages to Whiff on Pac-12 Stars


You may have noticed The College Football Huddle is bereft of award watch list rundowns. The various organizations responsible for college football’s various individual honors deluge media every mid-July with increasingly lengthy rosters of preseason candidates.

These are less list than they are databases of virtually every notable player at a given position, thus are only truly newsworthy when there are egregious omissions. The Butkus Award watch list manages to accomplish that feat.

As ESPN.com Pac-12 reporter Ted Miller notes, the Butkus Award watch list omits Colorado sophomore Addison Gillam, as well as Arizona sophomore Scooby Wright.

The Butkus Award, given to the nation’s premier linebacker each season, tabs almost 50 players on its initial watch list. Among the 48 selected is Harvard’s Zach Hodges. The inclusion of an FCS player–an Ivy Leaguer, to boot–makes the exclusion of two linebackers from the Pac-12 all the more confounding.

What’s more, Addison Gillam was a 1st Team Freshman All-American in 2013 alongside UCLA’s Myles Jack. He made a team-best 107 tackles in 2013, 9.5 of which went for a loss.

Gillam made an immediate splash, racking up 14 tackles in his collegiate debut, the first of his four games of at least 13 tackles.

Likewise, Scooby Wright broke into Arizona’s starting rotation in Week 1 en route to 83 tackles on the season. Wright’s signature moment was coming up with teammate Shaq Richardson’s diving tip against Oregon, for Marcus Mariota’s first interception of the season.

The Butkus Award watch list, all all watch lists, updates throughout the season. Both Gillam and Wright should find their way onto it, so their current exclusion isn’t worth any real consternation.

Nevertheless, it’s proof that preseason watch lists can continue to generate legitimate discussion at a time when college football fans desperately need it. So…thanks, Butkus Award?