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The Butkus Award is one of those unique honors that is given at all three major levels of football: professional, collegiate and high school. Named after an all-time great in Dick Butkus, this year’s preseason list for college tabs 51 players.

Among the 51 is Michigan linebacker Mike McCray.

The senior linebacker from Trotwood, Ohio had a monster season as a junior, largely under the radar due to the other play-makers on the Michigan defense, that earned him All-Big Ten honorable mentions from coaches and media.

As a junior, McCray totaled 76 tackles (12.5 for loss) in all 13 of the team’s games last season. He had just two tackles in 12 games over his first two seasons with the Wolverines. He also added 4.5 sacks, two interceptions (one returned for a TD) and forced fumble-and-recovery last season.

McCray is one of nine Big Ten players named to this year’s Butkus Award watch list, including Iowa’s Josey Jewell, who is also a returning finalist and one of six semifinalists for the honor last season.