Illinois' Hardy Nickerson Jr. has just received some more preseason recognition. The newest member of the program was named to the 2016 Butkus Award Watch List along with 50 of college football's other top linebackers. The California transfer is one of 10 players from the Big Ten to be mentioned.
The award is, clearly, named after Fighting Illini legend and NFL Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus. An independent committee of 51 experts, scouts, and journalists will conduct the selection process.
Illinois' Dana Howard (1994) and Kevin Hardy (1995) won the Butkus award in back-to-back years and, to date, they're still the only two Illini to take home this honor.
Nickerson has also been named to the 2016 Nagurski Trophy Watch List. You can read more about that award right here.