Call it a clean sweep for Notre Dame and the Butkus awards.
Irish senior linebacker Manti Te’o on Monday was named the winner of the 28th annual collegiate Butkus Award while Irish commit Jaylon Smith was named the winner of the high school Butkus award. The award is given to the nation’s top linebacker at their respective levels of play.
Te’o, the leader of ND’s defense, was selected by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly. The Butkus Award is named after former Chicago Bears star Dick Butkus, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
“Manti Te’o embodies the toughness, intensity, competitiveness and on-field demeanor of a throwback performer like Dick Butkus himself,” said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly.
Te’o finished with 83 points in the Butkus voting system. Second was Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, followed by Alabama’s C.J. Mosley. Kevin Minter of LSU and Dion Jordan of Oregon tied for fourth.
Smith, who plays at Bishop Luers High in Fort Wayne, joins Te’o as a high school Butkus winner. Te’o won the first high school Butkus award in 2008.
“He was a dominant two-way performer with the talent to follow in Te’o’s footsteps,” Arkush said of Smith.
Te’o is also a finalist for the Nagurski Award, which goes to college football’s best defensive player. Other finalists include South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Georgia linebacker Jones, Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner and Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner.
The winner of the Nagurski, which was first awarded in 1993, will be announced tonight in Charlotte, N.C., and no ND player has won the award.
Te’o, Manziel in tight race
In the final poll, Manziel has 85 points to Te’o’s 84. The Heisman will be announced Saturday night.
Kelly up for coach of year
The other finalists are Gary Andersen (Utah State), Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois), Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Will Muschamp (Florida), Bill O’Brien (Penn State), David Shaw (Stanford), Bill Snyder (Kansas State) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M).
Kelly was a finalist for the award in 2009, when he coached at Cincinnati.
Te’o, Tuitt named All-Americans
Te'o and sophomore defensive end Stephon Tuitt were named to the CBS Sports.com All-America first team. Te'o led the Irish with tackles with 103 while Tuitt registered 13 sacks.