Bywater, Wilgar, Diabate On Butkus Award Watch List

Jul 25, 2022, 11:42 AM | Updated: 11:55 am

Ben Bywater - BYU Cougars...

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Ben Bywater (33) celebrates after tackling UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) as BYU and UAB play in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. UAB won 31-28. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- Ben Bywater and Payton Wilgar of BYU along with Utah’s Mohamoud Diabate made the Butkus Award watch list Monday morning. The Butkus Award goes out annually to the best college football linebacker in the country and is named after College and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus. The 2022 class has 51 nominees for the jersey number Butkus wore throughout his career.

Semifinalists will be named on October 31st, with finalists being decided by November 21st. The winner will be announced on December 8th at the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.

Bywater, Wilgar and Diabate Butkus Award Nominees

Bywater was a force for the BYU linebacking core in 2021, leading the team in tackles 102 along with 8.5 tackles for loss in his first season as a starter. Pro Football Network named Bywater the 2021 All-Independent Defensive Rookie of the Year. Bywater was also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team.

Wilgar has been making his presence known for the Cougars over the last three seasons as a starter. In 2021 he made both the Butkus and Nagurski Trophy watchlists. Despite injuries ending Wilgar’s season a little early in 2021, he still did manage to come second in assisted tackles with 27 and tackles for loss with six for BYU. Wilgar was third on the team in total tackles with 56 and solo tackles with 29.

Diabate is a new face for the Utes in the linebacker corps coming in as a transfer from Florida for just this season. Many expected Diabate to play a large role in 2022 for the Gators until he decided to go to Utah instead this past winter. At Florida in 2021, Diabate recorded 89 total tackles, 34 solo, and 55 assisted tackles putting him 2nd on the team in tackling. In 2022, Diabte and the Utes will be hoping he can help keep the linebacker production high after Devin Lloyd was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft earlier this spring.

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Bywater, Wilgar, Diabate On Butkus Award Watch List