Kolaj Cobbins, Tylen Singleton named to Butkus Award preseason watch list

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Butkus Award High School Football

CHICAGO – The Butkus Award® honoring the nation’s best linebackers continued its annual selection process today by announcing its high school preseason watch list. The watch list features 51 linebackers, mirroring the legendary “51” pro jersey associated with the awards namesake, Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.

The high school Butkus Award watch list includes candidates from 19 states, including seven players from Florida and Georgia, five from Texas, and four from California.

The award semifinalists are expected to be named Oct. 31 with finalists to follow November 21. The winner will be named on or before Dec. 7. Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.

“High school football is the soul of the sport and I enjoy recognizing and watching players develop as athletes and young men,” said Butkus, the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer. “When an outstanding 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 this recognition brings a responsibility of giving back.”

All 2023 Butkus Award winners will be honored at a televised event on Jan. 27, 2024, at Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. CBS Sports Network and the Big Ten Network aired the 2021 and 2022 events featuring Butkus and numerous noted NFL Alumni. To watch the shows online via YouTube, visit: https://www.youtube.com/@thebutkusawards696/videos.

Founded in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs. A 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists guides the selection process. The Butkus Foundation has presented the high school and professional awards since 2008. The collegiate award is now in its 39th season.

Drayk Bowen from Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana, won last year’s award and is now at Notre Dame. The other five finalists from a season ago included: Tackett Curtis, Many, La. (Many); Anthony Hill, Denton, Texas (Ryan); Ben Kueter, Iowa City, Iowa (Iowa City); and Raylen Wilson, Tallahassee, Fla. (Lincoln).

Nakobe Dean, the 2021 winner of the collegiate Butkus Award while playing for National Champion Georgia was just the third player to win both the collegiate and high school Butkus Awards. The Horn Lake, Miss., product, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, joined Jaylon Smith (Bishop Luers, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Notre Dame) and Manti Te’o (Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Notre Dame) in that distinction.

The complete 51-man Butkus Award preseason high school watch list follows:


Jeremiah Beasley, Bellville, Mich. (Belleville)
Ja’Qualin Birdsong, LaGrange, Ga. (Troup County)
Jaylen Boardley, Texarkana, Texas (Pleasant Grove)
Sammy Brown, Jefferson, Ga. (Jefferson)
Cam Buffington, Winfield, Iowa (Mount Union)
Bodie Calhoun, Roanoke, Va. (Patrick Henry)
TJ Capers, Miami, Fla. (Christopher Columbus)
Aaron Chiles, Olney, Md. (Our Lady of Good Counsel)
Fred Clark, Winona, Miss. (Winona)
Kolaj Cobbins, Destrehan, La. (Destrehan)
Chris Cole, Salem, Va. (Salem)
Mason Curtis, Nashville, Tenn. (The Ensworth School)
Frank Cusano, Granite Bay, Calif. (Granite Bay)
Sterling Dixon, Mobile, Ala. (Mobile Christian)
Myles Graham, College Park, Ga. (Woodward Academy)
Wendell Gregory, Marietta, Ga. (Walton)
Zavier Hamilton, Navarre, Fla. (Navarre)
Adarius Hayes, Largo, Fla. (Largo)
Rodney Hill, Bunnell, Fla. (Flagler Palm Coast)
Andrew Hines, College Park, Ga. (Woodward)
Kari Jackson, West Bloomfield, Mich. (West Bloomfield)
Cayden Jones, Arden, N.C. (Christ School)
Kristopher Jones, Fairfax, Va. (Fairfax)
Viliamu-Asa Kyngstonn, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
Melvin Laster, Liberty, Mo. (Liberty North)
Cameron Lindsey, Aliquippa, Pa. (Aliquippa)
Jordan Lockhart, Bellflower, Calif. (St. John Bosco)
William Love, Camden, N.J. (Eastside)
Jeremiah Marcelin, Miami, Fla. (Norland)
Willis McGahee IV, Miami, Fla. (Columbus)
Booker Pickett Jr., Tampa, Fla. (Wharton)
Payton Pierce, Allen, Texas (Lovejoy)
Brayden Platt, Yelm, Wash. (Yelm)
Demarcus Riddick, Clanton, Ala. (Chilton County}
Preston Ries, Monticello, Iowa (Monticello Community)
Jayshawn Ross, Kansas City, Mo. (Liberty North)
Bradley Shaw, Birmingham, Ala. (Hoover)
Colin Simmons, Duncanville, Texas (Duncanville)
Tylen Singleton, Many, La. (Many)
Montrez Smith, Carrollton, Ga. (Carrollton)
Tyanthony Smith, Jasper, Texas (Jasper)
Anthony Speca, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Pittsburgh Catholic)
Edward Spillman, Nashville, Tenn. (David Academy)
Garrett Stover, Sunbury, Ohio (Big Walnut)
Derek Weisskopf, Williamsburg, Iowa (Williamsburg)
Maurice Williams Jr., Pearland, Texas (Shadow Creek)
Gabriel Williams, Baltimore, Md. (Saint Vincent Pallotti)
Dylan Williams, Long Beach, Calif. (Poly)
Ashton Woods, Marietta, Ga. (Walton)
Bryce Young, Charlotte, N.C. (Charlotte Christian)
Preston Zinter, Lawrence, Mass. (Central Catholic)


2008: Manti Te’o, Punahou (Honolulu, Hawaii)
2009: Jordan Hicks, Lakota West (West Chester, Ohio)
2010: Tony Steward, Menendez (St. Augustine, Fla.)
2011: Noor Davis, Leesburg (Leesburg, Fla.)
2012: Jaylon Smith, Bishop Luers (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
2013: Raekwon McMillan, Liberty County (Hinesville, Ga.)
2014: Malik Jefferson, Ralph H. Poteet (Mesquite, Texas)
2015: Caleb Kelly, Clovis West (Clovis, Calif.)
2016: Dylan Moses, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
2017: Solomon Tuliaupupu, Mater Dei (Claremont, Calif.)
2018: Nakobe Dean, Horn Lake (Horn Lake, Miss.)
2019: Justin Flowe, Upland (Upland, Calif.)
2020: Prince Kollie, David Crockett (Jonesborough, Tenn.)
2021: Shawn Murphy, Unity Reed (Manassas, Va.)
2022: Drayk Bowen, Andrean (Merrillville, Ind.)

  • < PREV Crescent City Sports to live stream Newman-Riverside football Friday night
  • NEXT > Northwestern State Demons announce 2023 baseball newcomer class