Georgia junior linebacker Roquan Smith became the first Bulldogs player Sunday to win the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation’s best linebacker each season.
The other finalists were Michigan’s Devin Bush, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Wisconsin’s T.J. Edwards and Clemson’s Dorian O’Daniel.
Smith is also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Smith has 113 tackles this season, including 10½ tackles for loss, 5½ sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
“Roquan Smith proved to be the overwhelming favorite in this year’s collegiate linebacking class,” the award selection committee said in a release. “He’s always around the ball and is very tough, fast and instinctive, with exceptional football reflexes. He makes his presence felt all over the field and hits with the type of explosion that has come to define the Butkus Award. As terrific of a football player as he is, Roquan is highly regarded by teammates, coaches and support staff for his intelligence, intensity and leadership traits.”
Three other Bulldogs players have been finalists for the award: Justin Houston (2010), Jarvis Jones (2011, 2012) and Leonard Floyd (2015).
The third-ranked Bulldogs (12-1) travel to Pasadena, Calif., to face second-ranked Oklahoma (12-1) in the College Football Playoff in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.