Laurinaitis was most gracious and humble in accepting the award, at one point noting that he “felt like I’ve stolen it from these two guys and am taking the trophy back to
It was evident at the Butkus Award banquet that this group of finalists not only all exemplified what being a college football player is all about, but all spoke highly of all the people around them that enabled the three to earn finalist status. Each was presented with a plaque for being named a finalist; Laurinaitis was also a finalist in 2006.
Dizon, a 6-0, 225-pound senior, played his prep ball at
Butkus Committee officials did not reveal how close the final voting was, and were only notified of the winner themselves from their accountants who certified the vote Friday afternoon.
He was bidding to become the third trophy winner who hailed from the state of Hawaii; the other two were both from Honolulu: Nebraska’s Dominic Raiola (St. Louis High School), winner of the 2000 Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center, and Hawaii’s Chad Owens (Roosevelt High) who claimed the final Mosi Tatupu Award as the nation’s top special teams performer in 2004.
Both Dizon and CU linebacker coach Brian Cabral wore maile leis, a vine from the mountains of
Cabral was emotional at times in his introduction speech of Dizon.
“He epitomizes and embodies the core values of
Dizon thanked numerous family members in attendance, including his mother and her boyfriend who traveled in from
“A lot of people probably spent more time on planes than they actually did here (in
Dizon was named to The Sporting News All-
Dizon, CU’s defensive captain, had 160 tackles in the regular season, which ranked him second in the nation, though was first in solo stops (120). He is also the nation’s second active leading tackler, finishing fourth all-time at
His season wasn’t just about tackles, which if they’re considered the meat, he had plenty of side trimmings. He set a school record with 19 third down stops, eclipsing the mark set by Chad Brown in 1992 and matched by Brian Iwuh in 2005. He tied for the team lead with 11 tackles for loss, which included four sacks, and also had 14 tackles for zero, meaning 25 of his stops went for zero or minus yardage. Add to that two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown in a 31-26 win at Texas Tech (the Red Raiders’ lone home loss this season); eight quarterback hurries; three passes broken up (for a total of five passes defended by NCAA count); two near-sacks; one forced fumble, one caused interception and one touchdown save. He also played on four special teams units over the course of the season.
He had the best statistics by far of the three finalists, but
“These guys are great,” Dizon said of his co-finalists. “I have plenty of memories from this experience and it was an honor to be one of three linebackers to get to this point. That’s a tremendous honor in itself.”
Twenty-three Butkus awards have now been presented, and