Oct. 16, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain was selected as one of 16 semifinalists for the 25th annual Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's top linebacker, on Friday by the Butkus Foundation.
McClain, who was a finalist in 2008, has a team-high 42 tackles six games into the 2009 season. The Decatur, Ala., native also leads the team with two interceptions, a forced fumble and five quarterback hurries, while ranking second in tackles for loss (5.5).
McClain is the leader of an Alabama defense that ranks second nationally in total defense (218 yards per game) and seventh in rushing defense (63.2 ypg) and eighth in scoring defense (12.5 points) this season. He was the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after his 12-tackle performance in the Tide's win at Kentucky on Oct. 3., where he was involved in three of the Tide's four takeaways and finished the game with an interception, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and 12 tackles.
"We have another outstanding group of linebackers," said Dick Butkus, the award's namesake, in a release. "This Award is about honoring linebackers, and reminding them that they have a responsibility to serve as role models and to give back to society."
The other semifinalist include: Obi Ezeh, Michigan; Chris Galippo, Southern Cal; Mark Herzlich, Boston College; Greg Jones, Michigan State; Sergio Kindle, Texas; Sean Lee, Penn State; Travis Lewis, Oklahoma; Von Miller, Texas A&M; Brandon Spikes, Florida; Daryl Washington, Texas Christian; Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri; Eric Norwood, South Carolina; Perry Riley, Louisiana State; Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina; and Rennie Curran, Georgia.
The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel comprised of scouts, coaches and journalists. Selectors follow all rules of their leagues, including limitations on contact with players. Individual votes remain completely confidential.