Monday, July 16, 2012

Sooners on Butkus, Lombardi Preseason Watch Lists

Tom Wort #21 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates after a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl on October 8, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Sooners defeated the Longhorns 55 to 17. (October 7, 2011 - Source: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images North America)
NORMAN, Okla. -- After nine members from the Oklahoma football program accounted for 13 appearances on national award watch lists last week, four Sooners were placed on watch lists Monday. Tom Wort was named to The Butkus Award watch list while Ben Habern, Gabe Ikard and Corey Nelson were all announced as members of the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list.

One of 51 players named to the watch list for The Butkas Award, presented annually to the nation's best linebacker, Wort earned his second watch list nomination after being named one of three Sooners on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy list last Thursday.

The junior started 12 games at middle linebacker in 2011, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors after collecting 71 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery. He racked up a career-high two sacks at Kansas State and led the squad with 11 tackles against Iowa State.

Semi-finalists for the Butkus Award will be named Oct. 22, finalists Nov. 20, and winners will be notified on or before Dec. 4.

OU is one of just two Big 12 programs to have at least three players on the Lombardi Award watch list as Habern earned his third nomination in the last six days after being named to the Rimington Award list last Tuesday and the Outland Trophy list on Thursday. He was joined on the Outland Trophy watch list by Ikard.

Despite missing five games in 2011 due to an arm injury, Habern finished the season with 39 knockdown blocks on 391 snaps. The Argyle, Texas, native has started 30 career games in his time in Norman, ranking second, only behind Landry Jones, on the current OU roster.

A starter in all 13 of Oklahoma's 2011 contests, Ikard earned third team All-America accolades from the Associated Press and Yahoo!, in addition to receiving first team All-Big 12 honors and second team Academic All-America recognition. The junior had 88 knockdown blocks on 860 snaps, starting seven games at center for an injured Habern and six games at left guard.

Making an appearance on the first watch list of his career, Nelson started 11 games last season while playing in all 13. The Dallas, Texas, native was named honorable mention All-Big 12 by the AP and the league's coaches. The junior was second on the team and led all linebackers with 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Nelson's sack number marked the second-best single-season sack total by an OU linebacker in program history. Nelson also finished the year with six pass break ups and one fumble recovery.

The 43rd Rotary Lombardi Award which will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at The Hobby Center in Houston, Texas.

/// SoonerSports PR
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