Big 12 lands four on Butkus watch list

The Butkus Award, given annually to college football's best linebacker, has released its preseason watch list, and four players from the Big 12 made the cut.

Here they are:

Not a bad list. It's essentially a who's who of linebackers in the Big 12. Brown, Klein and Knott could all be finalists and contenders to win the award, but none of those three would be considered favorites. They'll need big years to change that.

The only other players from the Big 12 I might have added to the list is Oklahoma State's Shaun Lewis and Texas' Jordan Hicks, but neither is a legitimate snub. Keep an eye out for Texas Tech juco transfer Will Smith to crash the list of semifinalists in midseason, too.

Boston College's Luke Kuechly ran away with the trophy last year, but Texas A&M's Von Miller (2010) was the last Big 12 player to win the award.

Texas' Derrick Johnson (2004) is the last player from the current Big 12 lineup to receive the award.