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Penn State Football: Jason Cabinda And Nyeem Wartman-White Named To Butkus Watch List

by on July 12, 2016 2:00 PM

Junior linebacker Jason Cabinda and senior Nyeem Wartman-White have both been named to the 2016 Butkus Award Watch List. The award, named in honor of legendary linebacker Dick Butkus, annually recognizes the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.

Cabinda and Wartman-White are both looking to be the first Penn State linebacker to win the award since Paul Posluszny in 2005. LaVar Arrington also won the award in 1999, and five have previously been named finalists: Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor (2007).

Cabinda is now on three different watch lists in front of the 2016 season. Cabinda garnered All-Big Ten honorable mention accolades and was an ECAC first team All-Star as a sophomore. Starting all 13 games, Cabinda led the team and was 15th in the Big Ten with 7.7 tackles per game. He had three games with 10 or more tackles last season after entering 2015 with a career high of eight tackles during his freshman season in 2014.

Last week, Cabinda was named as a nominee for the Bednarik Award for the National Defensive Player of the Year, and he is also on the preseason watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which honors the top defensive player in college football who makes the biggest impact for his team, both on and off the field.

Wartman-White missed the majority of the 2015 season after suffering an injury in the second quarter of the season opener at Temple, but was second on the team in tackles in 2014. In his last complete game, he piled up a team- and career-best 11 stops vs. Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. His 75 tackles in 2014 more than doubled his previous career high, with his 6.2 stops per game ranking 28th in the conference.

Both players will be competing for the starting middle linebacker spot although both are expected to start.

Three other Nittany Lions were named to watch lists last week. Running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) and junior wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) were named to the Maxwell Award watch list for the National Player of the Year and junior Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.) was named to the John Mackey Award watch list for the nation’s most outstanding collegiate tight end.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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