Taylor Named Butkus Semifinalist
Winner to be announced December 7
October 18, 2001

BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech linebacker Ben Taylor has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, as announced Thursday morning by The Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc. (DACO). The award goes annually to the best linebacker in college football.

Taylor, who was a semifinalist a year ago, leads the nation's top defense in tackles (53), tackles for loss (11) and quarterback hurries (10). He also has 1.5 sacks and an interception for the 6-0 Hokies.

"This is quite an honor for both me and my teammates. If they're not playing well, then I'm not playing well," Taylor said. "It's also an honor to make the semifinal list for the second consecutive year. My goal this year is to make the finals. I'd like to thank the coaches and my teammates, as well as everyone pushing me for this award. Hopefully all of will continue to play well and we'll keep winning."

The list was determined by confidential balloting of the 29-member Butkus Award Selection Committee, comprised of the nation's foremost media members. The Selection Committee members made their selections from the initial Butkus Award Watch List of 69 college linebackers, which was announced back on Aug. 23, 2001.

On Thursday, Nov. 15, 2001, DACO will announce the three finalists for this year's Butkus Award at a national teleconference from the Downtown Marriott Orlando. The three Butkus Award finalists and their coaches will participate in the announcement. The 2001 Butkus Award winner will be announced at the Butkus Award Presentation Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 7, 2001 by the award's namesake Dick Butkus.

There was a three-way tie for 10th place. This is the second time in three years that there have been more than 10 semifinalists. The Butkus Award has been presented since 1985.

The 12 semifinalists (in alphabetical order) for the 2001 Butkus Award are:
Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma
Andra Davis, Florida
Kalimba Edwards, South Carolina
Trev Faulk, LSU
LeVar Fisher, NC State
Larry Foote, Michigan
E.J. Henderson, Maryland
D.D. Lewis, Texas
Ryan Nece, UCLA
Ben Taylor, Virginia Tech
Robert Thomas, UCLA
Josh Thornhill, Michigan State