LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the second time this offseason, UK senior linebacker Josh Forrest (pictured) has been named to a national watch list as the 2015 Butkus Award listed Forrest as one of 51 candidates for its annual award, it was announced Tuesday, July 14.
In its 31st year, the Butkus Award annually honors the nation’s best linebacker at the collegiate and high school level. The award is named after former Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
A selection panel of 51 deeply experience coaches, evaluators and journalists will narrow the field by private ballot. Players who do not appear on the watch list are still eligible for the award. Semifinalists will be named Nov. 2 before finalists are named Nov. 23. Winners will be notified on or before Dec. 8.
The collegiate watch list includes candidates from 35 universities and eight athletic conferences. Joining Forrest on the list from the Southeastern Conference is Kendall Beckwith (LSU), Kentrell Brothers (Missouri), Richie Brown (Mississippi State), Brooks Ellis (Arkansas), Leonard Floyd (Georgia), Jordan Jenkins (Georgia), C.J. Johnson (Ole Miss), Carl Lawson (Auburn), Curt Maggitt (Tennessee), Cassanova McKinzy (Auburn), Antonio Morrison (Florida), Reggie Ragland (Alabama), Jalen Reeves-Maybin (Tennessee) and Michael Scherer (Missouri).
Forrest last week was named to the 2015 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, which annually honors college football’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Last season, Forrest led the Wildcats in tackles with 110, adding eight tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and one fumble forced on his way to third-team All-SEC honors from Phil Steele College Football.
The impressive season for the Paducah, Ky., native ranked him high in the conference and nationally in several categories, including fourth in the SEC in total tackles and 36th nationally, while sitting second in the league in solo tackles.
The season was a breakout year for Forrest, who entered 2014 with 29 career tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and zero sacks. Forrest had five double-figure tackle games on the year, including a career-high 20 against Tennessee -- the first time a UK player had 20 or more tackles since 2012 -- and an impressive 15 tackles in UK's comeback win over South Carolina. Against Louisiana-Monroe, Forrest grabbed an interception and returned it for a touchdown.