The Dick Butkus Award is given out annually to the best linebacker in the nation at both the college and high school levels. This season, Wisconsin Badgers junior linebacker Jack Sanborn was named to the preseason watch list for the award.
Sanborn has also been named to the preseason watch lists for the Lott IMPACT Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award.
Sanborn will be one of the leaders of the defense this year and was the team’s leading tackler season, with 80, while racking up 5.5 sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovered and three passes defended.
Other B1G linebackers on the watch list include Derrick Barnes of Purdue, Tuf Borland, Baron Browning and Pete Werner of Ohio State, Paddy Fisher of Northwestern, Jake Hansen of Illinois, Camerone McGrone of Michigan and Micah Parsons of Penn State.
The Butkus Award also has a watch list for high school players and Jack’s brother, 2021 commit Bryan Sanborn (Lake Zurich, Ill.) is on the short list for best high school linebacker in the country.
A pair of other Wisconsin targets made the list as well, Yanni Karlaftis (West Layfayette, Ind.) and Jake Ratzlaff (Rosemount, Minn.). Karlaftis is announcing his college commitment on August 9th and the Badgers are one of the finalists while Ratzlaff is still deciding on playing hockey, where he is committed to play at Minnesota, or football, where he is deciding between the Gophers and the Badgers.