Matt Grootegoed Named 2004 Butkus Award Semifinalist

Oct. 14, 2004

Senior Matt Grootegoed has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the 2004 Butkus Award, presented to the nation's top linebacker by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando.

Through five games this season, Grootegoed has 24 tackles and three interceptions. He currently is tied for fifth nationally in interceptions (0.6, tied for first in Pac-10).

The pre-season All-American was a Butkus Award and Lombardi Award semifinalist last season. He starts on the weak side in 2004 after starting the past three years at strongside linebacker.

Joining Grootegoed as semifinalists are: Michael Boley of Southern Miss, Ahmad Brooks of Virginia, Kevin Burnett of Tennessee, Channing Crowder of Florida, Spencer Havner of UCLA, A.J. Hawk of Ohio State, Derrick Johnson of Texas, Lance Mitchell of Oklahoma, Kirk Morrison of San Diego State, Odell Thurman of Georgia and Leon Williams of Miami (Fla.).

The semifinalist were chosen by the 30-member Butkus Award Selection Committee, comprised of the nation's foremost sports media members. The Selection Committee made its selections from the initial Butkus Award Watch List of 68 college linebackers.

Thre finalists will be named on Nov. 11. The winner will be announced Dec. 10 at the black-tie Butkus Award Gala in Orlando. The Butkus Award will be presented to the winner by the award's namesake, former Illinois and Chicago Bear Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.

USC's Chris Claiborne won the school's only Butkus Award in 1998.

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