July 14, 2011
Colorado Springs, Colo. - Carmen Messina, who has led the Mountain West in tackles in each of the last two years, has picked up his second honor of the week as he was one of four Mountain West football student-athletes have been named to the watch list for the Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation's best collegiate linebacker. Messina on Tuesday was named to the 2011 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List.
The Lombardi Award annually honors the top lineman in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and the eligibility of that award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left of the right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
The Butkus Award is slightly less complicated, much like its namesake...it's for best linebacker, and no Butkus Watch List would be complete without Messina, who has put in yeoman's work over the past two seasons.
A senior hailing from Addison, Ill., Messina averaged a MW-leading 9.6 tackles per game last season. In 12 games for the Lobos, he tallied 115 tackles (52 solo), while also recording 6.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He did all that despite suffering a high ankle sprain on the first series of the year against Oregon, an injury that hampered him for the rest of the way.
The previous year he led not just the MW but the NCAA with 162, including 8.0 tackles for loss as well.
Messina joins Dillon Farrell (Rimington), and Lucas Reed (Mackey) as Lobos on preseason watch lists. Along with Carmen Messina, San Diego State's Miles Burris and TCU's Tanner Brock and Tank Carder are among 45 preseason candidates for the award.
The Butkus Award®, instituted in 1985, has been given annually to the top linebacker in college football. The award, named in honor of Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, is regarded as one of the elite individual honors in college football.
An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.
This year's Butkus Award will be presented on the recipient's campus in early December. Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller earned the award last season.