July 15, 2013
Kentucky middle linebacker Avery Williamson has been named to the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's top linebacker.
Williamson was second in the SEC and 10th nationally with 135 tackles last season. He was seventh nationally with 11.25 tackles per game. Williamson added 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and four pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
He led the conference in tackles for most of the season until Tennessee's A.J. Johnson took the lead in the final game of the season against Kentucky. Johnson is also among 51 players on the watch list.
You can find the full list here.
There are nine total SEC players on the watch list, and a couple other names UK fans should be familiar with. Louisville's Preston Brown, who had 109 tackles last year, is on the watch list. So is WKU's Andrew Jackson, who had 122 tackles in 2012 but is probably better known for his sideline commentary during the 2011 UK-WKU game.
The Butkus Foundation, named for the Pro Football Hall of Famer, gives an award to the top linebacker at the high school, collegiate and pro level every year. Manti Te'o won last year's college award.
The high school list includes a player or two Kentucky is (or was previously) recruiting. Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy are both on the list. You can find that list here.