EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern senior linebacker David Nwabuisi (Houston, Texas/Episcopal) has been named to the pre-season watch list for college football's Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation's top linebacker.
Nwabuisi is one of 51 linebackers from across the country tabbed to the watch list, a number selected in honor of the now-retired professional jersey of legendary linebacker Dick Butkus. The award's selection panel is comprised of 51 coaches, evaluators and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly.
The Wildcat senior is coming off a junior campaign in which he finished third on the squad with 84 tackles, including a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss. He also notched three pass breakups and two forced fumbles while contributing at middle and outside linebacker. Nwabuisi had several big-game performances in 2011, including his career-best 12-tackle effort vs. Army and an all-around showing at Nebraska that included nine stops, two TFL's, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Semifinalists for the award will be named Oct. 22 followed by finalists on Nov. 20, with winners notified in early December.