Two Big 12 linebackers on Butkus watch list

Just two Big 12 linebackers made the watch list for the Butkus Award, given annually to college football's top linebacker.

Just like receivers, linebackers across the Big 12 are dealing with a major NFL drain. Arthur Brown, Jake Knott and A.J. Klein are gone, but I'm surprised to see a few names missing.

Oklahoma State's Shaun Lewis tops that list. The Big 12 would need a breakout season to place a linebacker on the list of finalists, but Texas' Jordan Hicks may finish the year as the Big 12's best linebacker after missing much of 2012 with injury.

I'm also surprised to see Kansas' Ben Heeney and Baylor's Eddie Lackey left off the list. TCU's Joel Hasley might have been a good selection, too.

Texas A&M's Von Miller won the award in 2010, but I'd expect a quiet year from the Big 12 linebackers. The last time a Big 12 linebacker from a current Big 12 school won the trophy was Texas' Derrick Johnson, all the way back in 2004.

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o won last year.