Eric Kendricks Wins The Butkus Award


November 22, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Eric Kendricks (6) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Southern California Trojans during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Early Tuesday morning, it was announced that the winner of The Butkus Award, which is given to the best linebacker in the nation, was UCLA’s own senior captain Eric Kendricks. Other than Kendicks, the finalists included Hau’oli Kikaha of Washington, Denzel Perryman of Miami (Fla.), Jake Ryan of Michigan, and Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame. Ultimately, it was Kendricks who took home the award behind his national best 96 solo tackles. An astounding number, indeed, but more impressive is that since 2005, Kendricks has recorded more solo tackles than anyone in college football.

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With 136 total tackles on the year to go along with the aforementioned statistics, it seems peculiar that for the PAC-12 team selections, Kendricks found himself as a member of the All-Conference Second Team — behind Hau’oli Kikaha of Washington, Shaq Thompson of Washington, and Scooby Wright III of Arizona. Wright played off the charts this year, and his impact on games has been more than just what the statistics show — in fact, all those linebackers have been outstanding, but no more than Eric Kendricks. In fact, I would argue that anyone who watched more that just one or two PAC-12 games this year would have seen that nobody in the Conference of Champions made better open field tackles on a consistent basis than the Butkus winner himself.

Nonetheless, the lack of thought when putting together the all conference teams should not reflect how well EK has played this year, and from Go Joe Bruin and the entire Bruin family, we salute and congratulate Eric Kendricks, thanking him for his time at UCLA.