Knott & Klein miss Butkus Award cut list; heavy pro presence on voting panel.


Twelve semi-finalists for the 2012 Butkus Award were announced this week and it’s an impressive group. The award is presented each year to the best linebacker in high school, college and professional football.

Four of the college semi-finalists are from the Big Ten, three from the SEC and two from the Pac-12. Kansas State’s Arthur Brown is the lone representative from the Big 12.

Neither of Iowa State’s outstanding duo of Jake Knott and A.J. Klein made the cut.

Knott has 68 tackles (which would rank second among the semi-finalists, one behind Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o), six tackles for loss, five pass break-ups (more than any semi-finalist) and two interceptions this season. Knott’s picks were game-clinching plays in Cyclone road wins (Iowa and TCU). Klein, the reigning Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year, also has sporty numbers and tied the NCAA career record for “pick sixes” by a linebacker earlier this season.

Roughly 50 people vote annually for the Butkus Award.

The list of 2012 voters include six people, who are aligned with college football: head coaches from Alabama, Iowa and Northwestern along with media representatives Pete Fiutak (College Football News), Tom Dienhart (Rivals) and Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN).

Roughly 40-plus voters have NFL affiliations – including head coaches Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Leslie Frazier, John Harbaugh and Ron Rivera – and one is a prep talent evaluator.

It’s too bad the Cyclones didn’t get the recognition they’ve earned as the stalwarts on an outstanding ISU defense. Their resumes certainly stack up favorably with those who were honored.

Perhaps, the voting process could be improved. Adding more representation from college football would be a start.

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