Senior named a finalist for nation’s top linebacker award
CHICAGO – Kenny Tate earned another preseason honor Thursday as he was placed on the watch list for the 2011 Butkus Award, which is awarded annually to the nation’s best linebacker at the high school, college and professional levels.
Last week, Tate, a 2010 first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, was placed on the watch lists for the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award, which both honor the top defensive player in the nation.
An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly’s Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.
The senior, one of nine ACC players on the 51-man preseason Butkus list, is expected to key a Maryland defense which has seven starters back from last season, including all-league defensive lineman Joe Vellano and linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who had 88 tackles in 2010 and is a preseason all-conference choice.
Tate, who moved from safety to linebacker in the spring, was among the more productive defenders in the nation a year ago.
He led the ACC and tied for 15th in the FBS in forced fumbles (0.31 per game/four). Tate was also the second-leading tackler in the ACC among defensive backs (7.7 per game) and posted 100 stops on the season, the first Maryland secondary player in 10 years to reach that mark.
Tate, who also had three interceptions and 3.5 sacks in 2010, was on the spring watch list for the Lott Trophy, which honors the top impact defensive player in the country.
The list will be paired down to 15 semi-finalists in October, with the award winner announced in December.
For more information on the Butkus Watch List go to:
Upcoming Dates for Maryland Football
· July 24-25 – ACC Media Day in Pinehurst, N.C.
· Aug. 8 – Players report to preseason camp
· Aug. 9 – First day of preseason practice
· Aug. 16 – Media Day
· Sept. 5 – Season opener vs. Miami
– Terps –