Four Mountain West athletes were named to the Butkus Award watch list today, given annually to the best linebacker in the nation.
Fresno State’s Jeff Camilli, a senior, figures to assume a lot of responsibility in the middle of the Bulldogs defenses following the departure of Kyrie Wilson. In 2015, Camilli recorded 76 tackles and hauled in two interceptions, and he’ll play a key role in Lorenzo Ward’s aggressive unit this fall.
Kevin Davis had a breakout campaign for Colorado State in 2015, finishing third among Mountain West linebackers with 101 total tackles and fourth with 14 tackles for loss.
San Diego State’s Calvin Munson built a serious case as the conference’s defensive player of the year in 2015 after piling up 98 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss, and 9.5 sacks. The Butkus list marks Munson’s second watch list appearance this offseason, as he was also named to the Bednarik Award list last week.
Boise State’s Tanner Vallejo finished third on the Broncos with 57 tackles and fourth with eight tackles for loss. The senior was an integral part of one of the league’s best defenses a year ago, and will need to raise his game to make up for some key departures on his side of the ball.
There’s talent at the linebacker position this year, though it’ll probably take a truly special season to match 2015 Butkus winner Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame.