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Mauti, Hodges Named Semi-Finalists for the Butkus

...color me surprised.

With little to no fanfare, outstanding senior linebackers Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges are both semi-finalists for the 2012 Butkus award, given to the nation's top linebacker. Penn State is the only school with two semi finalists.

Others who made the 2012 semifinalist list include Manti Te'o of Notre Dame (shocker), and two Big Ten players: Max Bullough of MSU and Jonathan Brown of Illinois.

Past Penn State winners of the award were LaVar Arrington (1999) and Paul Posluzny (2005). In 2006, Posluszny won the Bednarik award, given to the nation's top defender--but not the Butkus. Because he was the best defensive player, but not the best linebacker.

In light of the announcement earlier this month that neither Hodges nor Mauti made the top 25 for the Rotary Lombardi award, this is most welcome news for anyone who actually thinks that individual trophies and awards should go to the players that are truly the best at their position, all politics aside.

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