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Butkus names finalists; Murray, Dye missing from list

Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons and the NCAA leader in tackles, California’s Evan Weaver, headline the finalists for the 2019 Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker in high school, college and the pros.

Wisconsin’s Zack Baun, Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks, Penn State’s Micah Parsons and Wyoming’s Logan Wilson are the other finalists.

Missing from the list? Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray and Oregon’s Troy Dye.

Murray (6-foot-2, 232 pounds) has seen his draft stock soar this season despite picking up fewer tackles than he did in 2018. Murray’s 79 tackles are one more than he had as a freshman, but is about half the 155 he had last season. He also has 12 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and 3 pass deflections this season.

Dye (6-foot-4, 226 pounds), who recently accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl, was once thought to be a possible first-rounder heading into the season but is now generally regarded as a Day 2 or Day 3 player. Dye has 63 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and one interception and forced fumble.

His 15-tackle game in a loss to Auburn sums up why some evaluators are concerned about Dye at the next level. Dye had 15 tackles in that game, but that should be “scrutinized.”

“While Dye was active, he was also making many of those plays in reverse instead of attacking the line of scrimmage,” Matt Miller of the Bleacher Report wrote in September. “It’s notable that none of his tackles were for a loss, which paints a more accurate picture of the game he had.”

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