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Nov. 20, 2009

University of South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood has been named one of five finalists for the 25th annual Butkus Award honoring the nation’s top linebacker.

The five Butkus Award collegiate finalists include three candidates from the SEC conference and two from the Big 12 conference:

• Rolando McClain, Alabama

• Sergia Kindle, Texas

• Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri

• Brandon Spikes, Florida

• Eric Norwood, South Carolina

The winner will be announced on or before December 8, 2009. More information is available at

Norwood, a senior from Acworth, Ga., is the SEC’s active leader and the South Carolina career leader in both sacks (29.0) and tackles for loss (53.5). This season, he is second in the SEC with 7.0 sacks and tied for third with 10.5 tackles for loss. He leads the squad with two interceptions and has blocked three kicks. Named a midseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele, Sports Illustrated and Sporting News, Norwood is one of 12 semifinalists for the Lombardi Award, one of 16 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award and one of eight semifinalists for the Lott Trophy.

Norwood has played in all 49 games over the past three seasons and has made 36 consecutive starts. He has recorded 240 tackles over his three-plus seasons and was named the Harris Pastides Scholar Athlete Award winner for football at the spring game in April. Last season, Norwood earned All-SEC accolades from the Associated Press, the league’s coaches and Phil Steele’s College Football, and second-team honors from as a junior.

The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel comprised mostly of scouts, coaches and journalists, and coordinated by Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly.

The Butkus Award is named after Dick Butkus, who is considered one of the greatest football players in history. Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School. Butkus and his son Matt want the Award to draw attention to the I Play CleanTM campaign, which aims to end steroid use in organized sports. More information is available at