Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Courtney Watson One Of 11 Butkus Award Semifinalists

Oct. 16, 2003

Notre Dame, Ind. – Notre Dame senior linebacker Courtney Watson today was named one of 11 semifinalists for the 2003 Butkus Award which is given annually to the nation’s best collegiate linebacker by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc.

Watson, who was one of three finalists for the award in 2002, joins 10 other players from around the country as semifinalists for the prestigious award. The list of 11 was determined by confidential balloting of the 28-member Butkus Award Selection Committee comprised of the nation’s foremost media members. The Selection Committee made its selections from the initial Butkus Award Watch List of 90 college linebackers, which was announced back on Aug. 21,2003.

The semifinalist list will be pared to three finalist on Thursday, Nov.13, 2003, at a national press conference in Orlando. The three Butkus Award finalists and their coaches will participate in the announcement. The 2003 Butkus Award winner will be announced at the Butkus Award Presentation Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 12, 2003 at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World.

Watson is having another All-America season for the Irish as he leads the Irish in tackles with 42 in only four games after missing the Washington State game. Watson has 24 solo tackles on the season and three tackles for loss, including a tackle for loss against Michigan quarterback John Navarre in which he forced a fumble on only his third play from scrimmage in 2003. Watson also has two pass break ups the 2003 in leading the Irish defense that currently ranks 14th in the nation in total defense and 25th in the nation in both pass and rushing defense.

Watson has already receive many awards in 2003 as he was named a preseason first-team All-American by both Street & Smith and The Sporting News before the start of the year. He also was named the ABC/Chevrolet Player of the Game for his team-high 12 tackles and a forced fumble against Michigan and was one of 11 players nationally named to the American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team for his off the field contributions to the Notre Dame and South Bend communities.

The 10 other semifinalists for the 2003 Butkus Award include: Michael Boulware (Florida State), Josh Buhl (Kansas State), Karlos Dansby (Auburn), Rod Davis (Southern Mississippi), Matt Grootegoed (USC), Derrick Johnson (Texas), Teddy Lehman (Oklahoma), Jonathan Vilma (Miami), Demorrio Williams (Nebraska), D.J. Williams (Miami).

For more information about the Butkus Award, visit