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UA’s Rashaan Evans, Shaun Dion Hamilton named semifinalists for Butkus Award

Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans (#32) pressuring Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano two weeks ago at Bryant-Denny Stadium: Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.– Before it hosts Louisiana State University this week at Bryant-Denny Stadium, a pair of Alabama linebackers were named semifinalists for the Butkus Award.  

News was announced this morning via the Dick Butkus Foundation on seniors Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton being two of 15 candidates for the honor.

Named after NFL Hall of Famer and former University of Illinois great Dick Butkus, the Butkus Award is presented annually to the best linebacker in high school, collegiate and professional football levels. 

After missing two games because a groin injury, Evans has been stellar for the Tide. 

He’s recorded 26 tackles – including six tackles for loss (tied for team-high), three sacks and five quarterback hurries through six games. In Alabama’s win over Tennessee, Evans totaled six tackles, two stops for loss, one sack and two quarterback pressures. Since his return against Vanderbilt, the Crimson Tide has gone from five to 23 sacks – a difference of 18 sacks. 

As for Hamilton, he is second on the team in tackles (37) through eight games. 

The product of Montgomery, Ala., chimes in with 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries. His output in tackles for loss ties him for second on the squad, while his 2.5 sacks is good for third on Alabama’s defense.  

Behind Evans and Hamilton, the Tide ranks in the top-10 nationally in scoring defense (9.8 ppg, first), total defense (236 ypg, first), rush defense (66.4 ypg, first), red zone defense (68.8 percent scoring, eighth), first down defense (107, tied for third), third down defense (25% conversion rate allowed, fifth), pass efficiency defense (99.52 rating, sixth) and passing yards allowed (169.6, 10th). 

Former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster was the latest player in school history to win the Butkus Award, taking home the honor after last season.

He led the team in tackles (115) and had 13 tackles for loss, five sacks and eight quarterback hurries – guiding the team to a Southeastern Conference championship, a win in the Peach Bowl and its second consecutive appearance in the College Football Playoff national title game.  

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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