Notre Dame Football: Coney And Tranquill Make Butkus Award Watch List

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01: Linebacker Te'von Coney
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01: Linebacker Te'von Coney /

Two of Notre Dame football’s strongest defensive players found a spot on the 2018 preseason Butkus Award watch list.

Every season the Butkus Award is given out to the nations top linebacker. Luckily for Notre Dame, some of their top defensive performers are linebackers. Notre Dame football players Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquill made the watch list this year for the Irish.

Named after college and pro football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, the award is presented by the Butkus Foundation.

Coney became a huge name in the second half of the 2017 season. After starting nine games in 2016, Coney struggled to find his way up the depth chart. The more experienced Greer Martini earned the starting position at the beginning of last season. But, once he went down with an injury, Coney became a monster.

Starting only seven games last season, Coney tallied 118 total tackles and 13 tackles for a loss. He never looked to slow down. In the Citrus Bowl against LSU, he racked up 17 total tackles.

The defense will be even more experienced with the graduate student, Tranquill, electing to stay one more year.

With 74 tackles last season, Tranquill brings more fight to the gridiron than most ever could. With torn ACLs in 2014 and 2015, He couldn’t leave Notre Dame without finishing what he started.

The hopes of a successful season for the Irish are largely in the hands of these two potential Butkus Award recipients.

The Irish are no strangers to winning the Butkus Award. Since branching off to include high school and professional winners in 2008, some recent Notre Dame players proved their worth.

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Manti Te’o and Jaylon Smith are the only players to have won both high school and collegiate Butkus Awards.