GAINESVILLE, Fla. * University of Florida junior linebacker Brandon Siler (Orlando, Fla.) has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando announced Thursday. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.
Siler is second on the team with 43 tackles, including 28 solo, in seven games this season. He has also tallied five tackles for loss, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup. In addition to his personal statistics, Siler has played a vital role on a defense that is allowing only 67.7 rushing yards per game * a figure that leads the SEC and ranks fifth in the nation. The Gators also own the league’s second-best scoring defense (12.0 points per game), which also stands fourth in the nation. In 31 career games, Siler has racked up 184 tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and eight fumble recoveries.
The 6-2, 235-pound junior is the third Florida player to be named a Butkus Award semifinalist since 2001, joining former Gators Andra Davis and Channing Crowder. Since the award’s inception in 1985, seven UF linebackers have reached at least the semifinal round, with Alonzo Johnson (1985), Tim Paulk (1991) and Jevon Kearse (1998) earning finalist distinction.
The 10-member group of semifinalists will be narrowed to three finalists on Nov. 9 by the Butkus Award Selection Committee, comprised of some of the nation’s foremost sports journalists. The winner will be announced on Dec. 9 at the Butkus Award Gala in Orlando, and the trophy will be presented to its recipient by NFL Hall of Fame member Dick Butkus.
2006 Butkus Award Semifinalists
* H.B. Blades (Pittsburgh)
* Buster Davis (Florida State)
* David Harris (Michigan)
* Ali Highsmith (LSU)
* James Laurinaitis (Ohio State)
* Rey Maualuga (Southern California)
* Sam Olajubutu (Arkansas)
* Paul Posluszny (Penn State)
* BRANDON SILER (FLORIDA)
* Patrick Willis (Ole Miss)