University of South Carolina junior linebacker Ernest Jones has been named one of 16 semifinalists for the 36th annual Butkus Award, honoring the nation’s best linebacker, it was announced today.
Jones, a 6-2, 230-pounder from Waycross, Ga., leads the Gamecocks with 86 tackles, 16 more than any other player on the squad, an average of 9.6 per game, fifth in the SEC. Jones owns two of the top 12 individual tackling efforts in the country this season, registering a career-high 19 tackles at LSU, the most for a Gamecock since Roy Hart logged 19 at Nebraska in 1987, then collecting another 18 at Ole Miss.
Jones has logged 199 career tackles in 26 career contests. That ranks ninth in the country among active players with an average of 7.65 tackles per game.
Selection for the Butkus Award is handled by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists who vote separately and confidentially using a 3-2-1 process, with a write-in option offered. Selectors and selection criteria are posted at www.thebutkusaward.com.
Finalists are expected to be announced December 7, and the winner will be announced on or before December 22.
The Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization which advances health and wellness through special initiatives. This includes the I Play Clean® program encouraging athletes to play using their natural ability, and the Butkus Takes Heart program encouraging preventive heart scans and screening among adults.