Source: The Butkus Award News Release
Editors Note: AgWeb's Campus Tour visited Texas A&M University October 28-30. The enclosed interview was part of that visit. Miller is a University Studies major, with an area of concentration in agriculture leadership and a minor in poultry science.
Texas A&M University senior Von Miller was named the 26th recipient of the collegiate Butkus Award® in a surprise presentation on campus by the legendary linebacker and award namesake Dick Butkus.
Miller was selected by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly, topping a competitive field of five finalists and six write-ins.
"Von Miller is an exceptional young man who displays outstanding ability on the football field with a rare combination of quickness, power, balance and body control, amazing initial quickness, and he closes on the ball with the authority only the true greats display," said Hub Arkush, publisher of Pro Football Weekly and coordinator of the Butkus Award selection committee. "Off the field he possesses all of the qualities we look for in a Butkus honoree, is an inspiration to his teammates and fans, and a real credit to his family and university."
Miller received 75 points and 19 first place votes from the panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly. Luke Kuechly of Boston College finished second with 40 points and 5 first place votes, followed by Akeem Ayers of UCLA (28 and 3), Bruce Carter of North Carolina (18 and 1) and Justin Houston of Georgia (15 and 1). Six other linebackers received write-in votes, led by Greg Jones of Michigan State (10 and 3).
Miller finished the regular season with 59 tackles, 34 solo, forced three fumbles and recovered two, and was defensive captain for the 9-3 Aggies who earned a post-season trip to the Cotton Bowl. He led the Big 12 Conference in quarterback sacks for the second straight year with 9.5 in 12 games and was named to the All Big-12 first team for the second straight season. He was the first Aggie selected as an All-American since 1999 following his 2009 season. The DeSoto High School alumnus was a district defensive MVP his senior year.
The Butkus Award inscription reads: "When a player receives the Butkus Award he will know two things. First, he is recognized as the best of the best linebackers in America. Second, and in the long run most important, he will understand that this recognition brings a responsibility to serve others by giving back. – Dick Butkus."
Butkus wants the Butkus Award® to draw attention to the I Play Clean™ campaign, which aims to end steroid use in organized sports. He encourages past and current athletes, coaches and fans to pledge their support at www.iplayclean.org. That campaign is presented by Old Spice, and receives sports nutrition support from Abbott Nutrition’s EAS brand.
Butkus Award winners in 2009 included Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers and the first person to win both the collegiate and pro award, Rolando McClain of Alabama (now Oakland Raiders), and Jordan Hicks of Lakota West High School near Cincinnati (now University of Texas).
Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School. Meanwhile, his son Matt was a defensive lineman for the University of Southern California, and joins his father in philanthropic efforts. More information is at www.thebutkusaward.com.