As a continuation of the preseason award season, Nate Landman and Davion Taylor have found themselves on the watch list for the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s best linebacker.
Landman earned that preseason distinction by becoming a superstar in his first year starting. Before the 2018 season, we didn’t even know how much Landman would play, but the Buffs moved Drew Lewis to outside linebacker and started Landman next to Rick Gamboa. From his very first start, Landman was flying all over the field ruining people. Even with targeting penalties keeping him off the field — they were all on sketchy calls, but it’s not worth re-hashing — he put ridiculous numbers that saw him named to the Midseason All-America First Team and All-Pac-12. He finished with 104 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.
Taylor earned this distinction after one superb season at Colorado wherein he flashed ridiculous potential. As many have detailed, Taylor has barely played football in his life, due to his background as a Seventh Day Adventist. He played one game in his high school career, barely made the squad in JUCO and was recruited to CU by chance. Playing as the buff backer in CU’s defense, Taylor showcased his elite speed, tenacity and feel for the game, as he flew around the field making plays. He finished the year with 57 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, one sack and scored one touchdown. Now with a full year of major football under his belt, he appears set for stardom.
Two Buffaloes have won the Butkus Award before, Alfred Williams in 1990 and Matt Russell in 1996. Additionally, three more Buffaloes have been finalists, Ted Johnson in 1994, Russell in 1995 and Jordon Dizon in 2007.