Montana’s Josh Buss makes Butkus Award preseason watch list

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jul 23, 2018

(Editor’s note: story by Montana Sports Information)

MISSOULA – Montana senior linebacker Josh Buss has become the only FCS player to be placed on the preseason watch list for the prestigious Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker, the Butkus Foundation announced Monday.

The Butkus Award honors the nation’s best high school, college, and professional linebackers who excel on the field and in service to the community.

The accolade comes a week after Buss was named the Big Sky Conference’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year at the league’s football kickoff event in Spokane, Wash.

The Butkus Award watch list contains 51 linebackers from 41 universities, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.

Buss enters his senior season with 198 career tackles, 36 tackles-for-loss, and 12 sacks. With a season to play, he ranks in Montana’s top-10 in career TFLs and top-30 in career sacks.

The Boise, Idaho native was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award in 2017, given annually to the top defender in the FCS. Previous winners of the Buchanan Award include Griz legends Kroy Bierman and Tyrone Holmes (at the time the STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year Award).

Buss is also a two-time Steve Carlson Defensive team MVP and two-time All-Big Sky performer. He burst onto the national scene as a sophomore when he led the Big Sky with 20 TFLs and set a new career high his junior season with 17 tackles against Eastern Washington.

An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee comprised of 51 experts, including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, conduct the selection process, according to the foundation’s website.

Since its inception in 1985, no FCS/1-AA player has won the Butkus Award. Previous winners include NFL legends like Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth and Texas A&M’s Von Miller, who also won the award as a professional with the Denver Broncos.

The 2017 collegiate Butkus Award went to Georgia’s Roquan Smith, who was selected by the Chicago Bears in the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The Butkus Award – 2018 Collegiate Watchlist
Curtis Akins, Memphis
Otaro Alaka, Texas A&M
Josh Allen, Kentucky
Jeffrey Allison, Fresno State
Azeez Al-Shaair, FAU
Joe Bachie, Michigan State
Markus Bailey, Purdue
Thomas Barber, Minnesota
Bryton Barr, Massachusetts
Tevis Bartlett, Washington
Devin Bush, Michigan
Josh Buss, Montana
Te’von Coney, Notre Dame
Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin
Deshaun Davis, Auburn
Troy Dye, Oregon
TJ Edwards, Wisconsin
Koa Farmer, Penn State
Paddy Fisher, Northwestern
Joe Giles-Harris, Duke
Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas
Porter Gustin, USC
Terez Hall, Missouri
Nate Hall, Northwestern
Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State
Darius Harris, Middle Tennessee
De’Jon Harris, Arkansas
Khalil Hodge, Buffalo
Justin Hollins, Oregon
Oluwaseun Idowu, Pittsburgh
Anfernee Jennings, Alabama
Gary Johnson, Texas
Kendall Joseph, Clemson
Caleb Kelly, Oklahoma
Jordan Kunaszyk, California
Tre Lamar, Clemson
Dylan Moses, Alabama
Bobby Okereke, Stanford
Justin Phillips, Oklahoma State
Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State
Shaq Quarterman, Miami
Dave Reese, Florida
Cameron Smith, USC
Ty Summers, TCU
Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
Andrew Van Ginkel, Wisconsin
D’Andre Walker, Georgia
Devin White, LSU
Mack Wilson, Alabama
Juwon Young, Marshall