LOGAN, Utah – Utah State junior Kyler Fackrell has been named to the 2014 Butkus Award Watch List, it was announced Monday by the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The Butkus Award is given annually to the best linebacker in the nation.
Fackrell is one of just three Mountain West linebackers named to the Butkus Award Watch List along with Colorado State’s Aaron Davis and Wyoming’s Sunny Puetasi.
In all, Fackrell is one of 51 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) linebackers named to the Butkus Award Watch List.
Entering his junior season, Fackrell is also one of 40 college football players named to the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker of the Year Trophy Watch List, one of 76 players named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, one of 81 players named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, and a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by both Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.
Fackrell, a 6-5, 245-pound junior from Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa HS) was named an honorable mention Sophomore All-American by College Football News and earned second-team all-Mountain West honors a year ago as he finished the season ranking first on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss, tied for first with two forced fumbles and second with his 5.0 sacks, while ranking fourth on the team with 82 total tackles (37-solo, 45-assist). Overall, he averaged 5.9 tackles per game to rank 35th in the Mountain West. During the season, he recorded three quarterback hurries, recovered one fumble, intercepted one pass and registered one pass breakup. He was also named the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week following USU’s 47-10 home win against Hawai’i as he recorded nine tackles, including 0.5 for loss, to go along with an interception return of 99 yards for his first career defensive touchdown, which ranks as the third-longest interception return in Utah State and Mountain West history.
As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Fackrell earned first-team all-WAC honors and was named Utah State’s first-ever Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Freshman All-American as he finished the year ranking second on the team and eighth in the WAC with three interceptions (0.23 pg), third on the team and 13th in the WAC with 8.0 tackles for loss (0.62 pg), and fourth on the team and 13th in the WAC with 87 tackles (6.7 pg), which ranks third all-time at in school history among freshmen.
Utah State returns 14 starters (O-6, D-5, S-3) as part of 38 letterwinners (O-17, D-18, S-3) from last year’s 9-5 team that won the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference, played in the inaugural Mountain West Championship game, and defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Utah State concluded the 2013 season by winning six of its final seven games to tie the 1960 and 1961 teams for the second-most wins in school history. With its win against Northern Illinois, Utah State posted back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history as it played in its third-straight bowl game, also a first at USU. Utah State also set the school record for conference wins as it posted a 7-1 league mark in its first season in the Mountain West.
Utah State ended the year ranking tied for 37th nationally in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls with two votes each, marking the second time in as many years that USU has concluded the season ranked among the top teams in the nation as the 2012 team was ranked 16th in the final AP poll, 17th in the final coaches’ poll and 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings.
Utah State will open the 2014 season on Sunday, Aug. 31 at Tennessee and play its first home game the following weekend against Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.
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