Iowa's linebackers named to Butkus Watch List

BY CODY GOODWIN | JULY 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa senior linebackers Christian Kirksey, James Morris, and Anthony Hitchens were recently named to the 2013 Butkus Award watch list.

The Butkus Award is annually given to the best linebacker at three separate levels. A professional, college, and high-school player have been honored since 2008. The college Butkus watch list contains 51 candidates from 37 schools.

In addition to his selection to the Butkus list, Hitchens was named preseason third team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele and College Sports Madness, as well as the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list.

Hitchens earned honorable mention recognition from the Big Ten coaches and media after starting 11 games last season, missing just one with an injury.

Morris has been a starting linebacker for the Hawkeyes since his true freshman season in 2010. He is also on the watch lists for the Bednarik Award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Nagurski Award, and the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy watch list. In addition, Morris has earned preseason second team All-Big Ten honors from Athlon, Phil Steele, and College Sports Madness.

Kirksey collected 95 tackles as a junior, ranking ninth in the conference in tackles per contest (7.5). The native of St. Louis ranked first in the Big Ten and second in the country with four recovered fumbles. He is also present on the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Trophy watch list and was named preseason fourth team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele.

Finalists for the Butkus Award will be named on Nov. 26, and the winner will be notified on or before Dec. 10.

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