- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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As another week begins, another award watch list has been unveiled. Today, it's the Butkus Award, which goes to the top linebacker in the nation.
The Big Ten placed nine players on the list, though there was one curious omission. Here are the players who were named to the list from the league:
Denicos Allen, Michigan State
Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Jonathan Brown, Illinois
Max Bullough, Michigan State
Gerald Hodges, Penn State
Michael Mauti, Penn State
James Morris, Iowa
David Nwabuisi, Northwestern
Etienne Sabino, Ohio State
A very strong group, for sure. But where's Wisconsin's Mike Taylor? All he did last year was lead the Big Ten in tackles with 150, finishing 13th nationally in tackles per game. Not having him on a preseason list of 51 linebackers is a major oversight by the Butkus committee.
You could also make arguments for Iowa's Christian Kirksey and Michigan's Kenny Demens to be included here. Still, the Big Ten is well represented with All-America candidates like Borland, Bullough and Hodges and players such as Allen and Brown who could quickly become household names if they follow up last year's success.