It was quite a day for the California Golden Bears, first seeing CB Camryn Bynum selected to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list and then seeing linebacker Kuony Deng being named to the Butkus Award 2020 watch list as well.
Deng puts his name in the field as one of the top linebackers in the country, landing in the spot that we so famously saw Evan Weaver be in to start and end the years the past handful of seasons.
The redshirt senior joins a who’s who list of top linebackers across the nation after he posted honorable mention Pac-12 honors last season. He started all 13 games and was second on the team behind Weaver with 119 tackles including three sacks. He has great impact in the run game and even better upside in coverage as well and should absolutely continually hear his name called this season.
The Butkus Award was instituted in 1985 and is comprised of a selection committee of 51 experts. The award is annually given out to the top linebacker at the college level and expanded to high school and professional football in 2008.
It will be given out following the college football season this year as the preseason watch list will be dwindled down to a list of finalists near the end of the season.
Despite recent success from Weaver and a few other Cal linebackers, no Cal Bear has won the Butkus Award and only four Pac-12 linebackers have done such a thing.