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Butler Announced as Semifinalist for Butkus Award

Nov 1, 2021

CHICAGO - Sun Devil Football linebacker Darien Butler was named a semifinalist for the 2021 Butkus Award, the Butkus foundation announced on Monday.

Butler is one of 16 candidates for the award given to the nation's top collegiate linebacker at the FBS level.

Darien Butler, Arizona State
Christian Harris, Alabama
Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati
Nate Landman, Colorado
Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Jack Campbell, Iowa
Damone Clark, LSU
Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma
Malcolm Rodriquez, Oklahoma State
Noah Sewell, Oregon
Brandon Smith, Penn State
Olakunle Fatukasi, Rutgers
DeMarvion Overshown, Texas
Devin Lloyd, Utah
Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
Chad Muma, Wyoming

The senior captain has been the leader of the Sun Devil defense and a physical presence week after week. The team leader in tackles (50), tackles for loss (7.0), and interceptions (3) has been all over the field through eight games. The production doesn't stop there, as he has added two sacks and two pass breakups. By picking off two passes in the season-opening win over Southern Utah, he became the first Sun Devil linebacker with multiple interceptions in a game since Carlos Mendoza in 2012. 

He entered last weekend as the third-highest graded linebacker in the Pac-12, including taking the top spot among linebackers in coverage. The three interceptions by Butler represent the most by a Sun Devil linebacker since Mike Nixon had three in 2009.

When he makes stops, they are extremely impactful, as his 16 tackles for loss OR no gain are the second-most in the Pac-12. Butler has 28 defensive stops on the year, good for fifth among the league's backers. His consistency and toughness reflect in his play and set a great example for his teammates, as he has started all eight games for ASU this season. That gives him 35 career starts in 38 career games played.  
Selection of the Butkus Award is handled by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists who vote separately and confidentially using a 3-2-1 process, with a write-in option offered. Selectors and selection criteria are posted at

Finalists in both divisions are expected to be announced November 22, and winners on or before December 7.
The Butkus Award is partnering with Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa, Rancho Mirage, Calif. to celebrate Butkus Award winners. The event is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Contact the Butkus Foundation for ticket and sponsorship information.
The Sun Devils return to action on Saturday, Nov. 6th at 7:30 pm when they host USC on ESPN. Dave Fleming, Rod Gilmore, and Stormy Buonantony are on the call. You can also listen to the game on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.