Five SEC players make Butkus cut

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Picking the three best linebackers in the SEC this season for all-conference honors will be a thankless job.

That's because there are so many great linebackers in this league. Five of them were named Friday to the list of 16 semifinalists for the 25th annual Butkus Award, which goes to the top linebacker in college football.

Making the cut from the SEC were Georgia's Rennie Curran, Alabama's Rolando McClain, South Carolina's Eric Norwood, LSU's Perry Riley and Florida's Brandon Spikes. Curran, McClain, Riley and Spikes were among the 12 finalists for the award last year, which was won by Wake Forest's Aaron Curry.

Here's the complete list of the 16 semifinalists for 2009:

  • Obi Ezeh, Michigan

  • Chris Galippo, Southern Cal

  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College

  • Greg Jones, Michigan State

  • Sergio Kindle, Texas

  • Sean Lee, Penn State

  • Travis Lewis, Oklahoma

  • Von Miller, Texas A&M

  • Brandon Spikes, Florida

  • Daryl Washington, Texas Christian

  • Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri

  • Eric Norwood, South Carolina

  • Perry Riley, Louisiana State

  • Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina

  • Rennie Curran, Georgia

  • Rolando McClain, Alabama