Baylor Press Release:
CHICAGO – Senior linebacker Clay Johnston was named to the watch list for the 2019 Butkus Award, honoring in the nation’s top collegiate linebacker, it was announced today.
In its 35th year, the watch list for the top collegiate linebacker contains 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
Johnston, a preseason All-Big 12 selection, is named to the Butkus Award Watch List for the first time in his career. He is the first Bear to be selected for the watch list since Taylor Young in 2016.
A fifth-year senior, Johnston is one of the top linebackers in the conference after earning 2018 All-Big 12 second team honors. He finished the 2018 campaign ranking fifth in the Big 12 with 99 total tackles and fifth with 8.25 tackles per game. In the month of November, the Abilene, Texas, native averaged 13.3 tackles per game, including a career-high 17 tackles in the Bears’ come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State on Homecoming. Overall, the MIKE linebacker has 179 career tackles, the most on the team.
Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at the high school, collegiate and pro levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. They include the I Play Clean® initiative promoting training and nutrition instead of performance-enhancing drugs, and the Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults. Semifinalists will be named November 4, finalists November 25 and winners on or before December 10.