Su’a Cravens Named Butkus Award Semi-Finalist


USC linebacker Su’a Cravens was named a finalist for the Butkus Award, which is given each year to the nation’s top linebacker.

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Cravens has been USC’s best defender through eight games, logging 50 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks, three interceptions, three pass break ups and a forced fumble.

As the undisputed leader of the defense, he has also helped guide the Trojans through difficult times as USC fired head coach Steve Sarkisian midseason.

Last year, Cravens was a third-team AP All-American and an All-Pac-12 first team selection.

Before the 2015 season Cravens was named to the watch lists for the Butkus, Lombardi, Bednarik, Nagurski and Lott awards and he has delivered on the hype.

Joining Cravens among the semi-finalists are some familiar faces, including Stanford’s Blake MArtinez and Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith.

Here’s is the full list of potential Butkus Award winners:

  • Kendell Beckwith, Louisiana State University
  • Su’a Cravens, University of Southern California
  • Kyler Fackrell, Utah State University
  • Leonard Floyd, University of Georgia
  • Deion Jones, Louisiana State University
  • Blake Martinez, Stanford University
  • Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State University
  • Antonio Morrison, University of Florida
  • Reggie Ragland, University of Alabama
  • Jaylon Smith, University of Notre Dame
  • Jake Ryan, University of Michigan

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The Trojans have had just one Butkus winner in their history despite an illustrious history of producing linebacker talent including Junior Seau, Matt Gootegoed, Keith Rivers, Lofa Tatupu, Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews and a host of others. All-American linebacker Chris Claiborne took home the award in 1998 as USC’s first recipient.

Last year, middle linebacker Hayes Pullard was also named a Butkus semi-finalist, however, he did not make the final cut.

Should Cravens find himself among the finalist when they are named on Nov. 23, he will have come the closest the winning the award as a Trojan since Cushing and Maualuga were named finalists in 2008.