Sanders named finalist for Butkus Award

By: Matt Jones Matt Jones's Twitter account
Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders is shown during a game against Missouri State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Fayetteville.
( Charlie Kaijo)
Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders is shown during a game against Missouri State on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders is one of five finalists for the Butkus Award. 

The winner of the award, which is given to college football’s best linebacker, will be announced on or before Dec. 7. Other finalists are Jack Campbell of Iowa, Jamon Dumas-Johnson of Georgia, Daiyan Henley of Washington State and Ivan Pace Jr. of Cincinnati. 

In his first season at Arkansas after transferring from Alabama, Sanders has recorded 96 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks through 11 games. He leads the SEC in sacks and forced fumbles (3), and was named national linebacker of the month in September by the Butkus Award. 

Sanders was named national defensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Football Foundation on Sept. 11 following a game against South Carolina in which he recorded 11 tackles and 2 sacks, and forced 2 fumbles. 

He was also named SEC defensive player of the week following the South Carolina game, and earned the SEC award again this week following a 10-tackle game against Ole Miss. He intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble in the win.

Sanders is believed to be the first Arkansas player to be a finalist for the Butkus Award, which was first presented in 1985.

"First of all, he’s such an unbelievable player, and for him to come and help us out this year, it’s been incredible," Razorbacks linebacker Bumper Pool said last Saturday of Sanders. "Day in and day out, (he is) trying to be the best version of himself. He’s going to be a phenomenal player at the next level.

"Just happy that we’ve had the opportunity to have him on our team."

The award is named for Dick Butkus, a College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker.

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