UA SPORTS INFORMATION
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - University of Arkansas senior linebacker Alonzo Highsmith is on the Butkus Award Watch List, it was announced Monday.
Highsmith started all 13 games of his first season at Arkansas and finished 2011 first on the team and 10th in the SEC with 12.5 tackles for loss. The Missouri City, Texas, native recorded 80 tackles, including 12.5 for loss with 4.5 sacks, two quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception and one pass breakup. His sack total was second on the team, and his tackle total ranked third on the team. He made a career-high 12 tackles, including a career-high-tying 2.0 tackles for loss, in the 38-14 win vs. No. 15 Auburn. He scored his first touchdown as a Razorback on a 47-yard fumble return and also made seven tackles with 0.5 sack at No. 1 LSU. He opened the season with four tackles and 2.0 for loss, which was the third-highest TFL total by an SEC player in the season's first week, in a 51-7 win vs. Missouri State. The next week, he started a stretch of six straight games with at least five tackles by making five stops in the 52-3 victory vs. New Mexico.
The watch list contains 51 candidates, honoring the now-retired professional jersey number of Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history. The selection panel is comprised of 51 coaches, evaluators and journalists, coordinated by Pro Football Weekly.
Semifinalists for the Butkus Award will be named Oct. 22, and the finalists will be announced Nov. 20. The winner will be notified on or before Dec. 4.