BYU and Utah still have big dogs in the fight to be the top linebacker in college football.
Senior linebackers Kyle Van Noy of BYU and Trevor Reilly of Utah were named to a group of 12 Butkus Award semi-finalists across the country.
Van Noy, from Reno, Nevada, has 46 tackles on the season to go with four sacks. He's also grabbed one interception had one fumble recovery and even forced a safety.
He has been mentioned by many insiders as being a potential first or second round pick in next year's NFL Draft.
He went through some difficult personal problems early on in his collegiate career -- even considering leaving the BYU -- but eventually made the decision to stay at the private Mormon church-owned school and play with one of the best defenses in the nation.
Collegiate 2013 Butkus Award Semi-Finalists:
Anthony Barr UCLA
Lamin Barrow Louisiana State University
Chris Borland University of Wisconsin
Khairi Fortt University of California
Khalil Mack University at Buffalo
C.J. Mosley* University of Alabama
Denzel Perryman University of Miami (Fla.)
Trevor Reilly University of Utah
Ryan Shazier The Ohio State University
Shayne Skov Stanford University
Yawin Smallwood University of Connecticut
Kyle Van Noy Brigham Young University
* Denotes 2012 Semi-Finalist
Reilly, from Valley Center, Calif. is not only the Utes key defensive player, he's also a team captain.
And he is having an even better senior year than Van Noy.
He already has 69 tackles and 5.5 sacks on the season through eight games. Reilly is also making big plays for the best defense Utah fans have seen in years. He has forced three fumbles, recovering one.
But, Reilly probably needed some good news after losing 19-3 at USC and seeing his Utes fall to 4-4 overall on the season.
Winning the Butkus Award -- which seems a distinct possibility if Trevor is able to produce as he has thus far -- would put some sunshine on what has been a rough year personally, watching his young daughter put up her own valiant fight against cancer. (See video)
“This Award is about honoring linebackers at all levels, and reminding them that they have a responsibility to serve as role models and to give back to society,” said Dick Butkus, the legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker and individual for whom the award is named.
Van Noy and Reilly will join such college line-backing stars as Stanford's Shayne Skov and C.J. Mosley of Alabama.
From the list of 12, finalists will be selected by 51 media members and named on November 26 -- with the winner to be announced by December 10.
From information obtained from their Web site, The Butkus Award honors outstanding linebackers at three levels of play, while spreading the word about the I Play Clean™ initiative, which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play smart, instead of resorting to performance-enhancing drugs. More information is available at www.iplayclean.org or at www.facebook.com/i.play.clean.