Luke Kuechly wins Second Butkus Award


Luke Kuechly has won the Butkus Award for Best Linebacker. Kuechly received the award in Chicago from Butkus himself. The Butkus Award is handed out to the best linebacker in high school, college, and the NFL.

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So if it seems weird to you that Kuechly could win the Butkus Award, you must be among the people who are most familiar with the college football version. You probably thought that Kuechly had already won that award. You would be right. When he was at Boston College, Kuechly won the collegiate version of the award.

January 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Carolina Panthers players Team Irvin linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) and Team Carter tight end Greg Olsen (88) during photo day at The Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, this makes Kuechly one of four players to have won the Butkus Award at two different levels.

Denver’s Von Miller and the recently retired 49er linebacker Patrick Willis also won the award at the college and pro levels. Manti Teo is the other, and he won the award for high school and college performance.

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In his short time with the Panthers, Kuechly has become one of the best linebackers in the League. It is only fear of homerism that prevents me from calling Kuechly the class of the middle linebackers in the NFL. Hopefully he will continue to anchor the Panthers defense for years to come.

As the Panthers move into the coming season, we will be looking for new rookie Shaq Thompson to grow into a pro linebacker next to Kuechly. The Panthers have always functioned best when they have been grounded by good defensive play. The second half of last season played out much differently when the defense came on.

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