July 15, 2013
Baylor junior linebacker Bryce Hager
has been named to the 51-member preseason watch list for the 29th annual Butkus Award, as announced by the Butkus Foundation Monday. Hager is one of two Big 12 Conference players on the watch list.
Butkus Awards are presented annually to the nation's best linebackers at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. There are 51 players named to both the collegiate and high school watch lists, honoring the now-retired professional jersey number of Dick Butkus, who is regarded as one of football's all-time best defensive players. There are also 51 members on the selection panel comprised of coaches, journalists and evaluators.
Hager has now been named to three preseason watch lists. In addition to the Butkus, he's also on lists for the Bronco Nagurski and Bednarik Awards, which are both presented to the nation's top defensive player.
As the starting middle linebacker in 10 of 13 games for the Bears in 2012, Hager led the Big 12 with 9.5 tackles-per-game. The Austin, Texas-product totaled 124 tackles with 72 of those being solo stops. Hager had 9.5 tackles for 44 yards in losses, while recording four sacks, eight QB hurries and two forced fumbles.
Hager tallied a career-high 16 tackles against Oklahoma in the ninth game of the season and then posted eight or more tackles in the last four games of 2012 to give him a 10.2 tackles-per-game average over the year's final five games.
For his efforts, Hager was named to the All-Big 12 second team by the league's coaches and the Associated Press.
Semifinalists for the Butkus Awards will be named on Oct. 28, finalists announced on Nov. 26 and winners will be notified on or before Dec. 10.
Hager is joined by Iowa State's Jeremiah George as the only Big 12 players on the Butkus Award watch list. The last time a player from a current Big 12 school won the award was when Texas' Derrick Johnson was honored in 2004.
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