Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier Named to 2013 Butkus, Lombardi Award Watch Lists
Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier is garnering a lot of attention heading into his junior season.
According to Ohio State's official website, Shazier has already been named to the Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski award watch lists, in addition to being listed as an All-American candidate by Phil Steele and USA Today.
On Monday morning, Shazier was also named to the Butkus Award and Lombardi Award watch lists:
The Butkus Award is given to the nation's top linebacker, while the Lombardi Award is given to the nation's best lineman or linebacker. There were 51 candidates named to the Butkus Award watch list and 107 named to the Lombardi Award watch list.
Shazier was outstanding during his sophomore season, leading Ohio State in tackles (115) and tackles for loss (17). Shazier also had five sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception, which he returned 17 yards for a touchdown against Penn State.
Shazier was the first Buckeye to record more than 100 tackles as a sophomore since James Laurinaitis (2006), and his play was rewarded by the media with first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes will need Shazier to maintain that production. Shazier is the only returning starter in Ohio State's front seven, and he will be tasked with leading a young but promising group.
Notre Dame's Manti Te'o won the Butkus and Lombardi awards last year, following Boston College's Luke Kuechly in sweeping both trophies in 2011.
Laurinaitis was the last Buckeye to win the Butkus Award in 2007, and A.J. Hawk most recently won the Lombardi Award in 2005.
Shazier is good enough to end both droughts. With the national attention Ohio State is expected to generate, he'll have a big enough stage to showcase his skills.
Stats via OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.
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