Jason Cabinda and Nyeem Wartman-White have both been named to the Butkus Award watch list, along with 49 other players. Named for legendary linebacker Dick Butkus, the award recognizes the nation's top collegiate linebacker. Cabinda and Wartman-White hope to join Paul Posluszny (2005) and LaVar Arrington (1999) as award winners for Dear Old State.
For Cabinda, this marks his third preseason award watch list, as he was previously named to the Bednarik Award watch list, given out to the nation's top defensive player, as well as the Lott IMPACT Trophy. Jason led the defense in 2015, sliding inside to middle linebacker after Nyeem went down in the season opener with a knee injury. He led the team with 100 tackles, and added 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
After a stellar 2014 season, Wartman-White had high expectations heading into 2015, only to see them derailed in the first game of the season. Nyeem spent the last year healing and acting as a mentor on the sidelines to the younger players, and is poised to finally reach his full potential in 2016. He and Cabinda have been vying all off-season to see who will assume the middle linebacker role, and who will slide outside. Wherever they end up, Penn State fans have to feel excited about the linebacking corps this year.
Congratulations and best of luck to Jason and Nyeem!