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Illinois Football: Dick Butkus named to FWAA 75th anniversary team

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Butkus is sole Illinois constituent on the list.

Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

The Football Writers Association of America released its 75-year All-America Team on Thursday, a three-deep list of college football players at each position during the past 75 years.

Dick Butkus is the only Illinois player to make the list.

Nebraska leads the list with six players, followed by Ohio State with five. Other Big Ten schools also made the list: Michigan (3), and Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State and Penn State each have one. Indiana, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin are not represented.

Butkus was a two-time unanimous All-American, in 1963 and 1964. He finished sixth in the 1963 Heisman Trophy race and third in 1964. The Chicago Vocational product finished his Illini career with 374 tackles, which now ranks eighth all-time in school history.

The accolades kept coming for Butkus after his Illini career. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, the College Football News in 2000 ranked him the sixth-best college football player and in 2007, ESPN ranked him No. 19 on their Top 25 Players in College Football History list.

Butkus' legacy is cemented in football with The Butkus Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding linebacker at the high school, college and professional levels.

He is one of just two players to have their number retired by Illinois, joining Harold "Red" Grange.

It's time he gets his statue at Memorial Stadium.