* University of Wyoming athletics media relations release

LARAMIE -- Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma was named one of 16 semifinalists for the prestigious Butkus Award on Monday. The Butkus Award honors the nation’s best linebackers in the nation. This is the 37th year of the Butkus Award.

Selection is handled by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists who vote separately and confidentially using a 3-2-1 process, with a write-in option offered. Selectors and selection criteria are posted at www.thebutkusaward.com.

Finalists in both the college and high school divisions are expected to be announced Nov. 22, and winners on or before Dec. 7. The pro winner will be announced in early 2022.

The Butkus Award is partnering with Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa, Rancho Mirage, Calif. to celebrate Butkus Award winners. The event is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Contact the Butkus Foundation for ticket and sponsorship information.

The Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.

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Muma was the only Mountain West player named a semifinalist this year. This is the second time in three years that Wyoming has had a semifinalist for the Butkus Award.  Former Cowboy linebacker Logan Wilson was named a semifinalist in 2019, and now stars for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.

Muma is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation in solo tackles (6.5 per game) and ranked No. 10 in the nation in total tackles (9.8 per game). He is also tied for No. 1 in the nation in interceptions returned for touchdowns, with two Pick Sixes on the season. He has recorded double figures in tackles in seven of eight games this season.

Muma first made his mark as one of the nation’s top linebackers in 2020. He ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in tackles, averaging 11.8 tackles per game. He also ranked No. 16 in the nation in solo tackles, averaging 5.5 per game.  Muma was selected First Team All-Mountain West by MW head coaches and media in 2020.

Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs.

The Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation and selected by a 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists. The award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935. Visit www.NCFAA.org for more information.

Collegiate Semifinalists (by College, returners noted *)

Christian Harris, Alabama*

Darien Butler, Arizona State

Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati

Nate Landman, Colorado*

Nakobe Dean, Georgia*

Jack Campbell, Iowa

Damone Clark, LSU

Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma

Malcolm Rodriquez, Oklahoma State

Noah Sewell, Oregon

Brandon Smith, Penn State

Olakunle Fatukasi, Rutgers*

DeMarvion Overshown, Texas

Devin Lloyd, Utah*

Leo Chenal, Wisconsin

Chad Muma, Wyoming

High School Semifinalists (by State and School)

Robert Woodyard, Lillie B. Williamson, Mobile, Ala.

Niuafe Tuihalamaka, Bishop Alemany, Mission Hills, Calif.

Jimmy Rolder, Marist, Chicago, Ill.

Dasan McCullough, Bloomington South, Bloomington, Ind.

Nolan Ziegler, Catholic Central, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Joshua Burnham, Traverse City Central, Traverse City, Mich.

Stone Blanton, Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Madison, Miss.

Jalon Walker, Salisbury, Salisbury, N.C.

Devon Jackson, Harry A. Burke, Omaha, Neb.

C.J. Hicks, Archbishop Alter, Dayton, Ohio

Gabe Powers, Marysville, Marysville, Ohio

Jaylen Sneed, Hilton Head, Hilton Head, S.C.

Harold Perkins, Cypress Park, Cypress, Texas

Kobie McKinzie, Lubbock Cooper, Lubbock, Texas

Lander Barton, Brighton, Cottonwood Heights, Utah

Shawn Murphy, Unity Reed, Manassas, Va.

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