Aug. 21, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior inside linebackers Courtney Watson (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview H.S.) and Mike Goolsby (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic H.S.) have been named to the 2003 Butkus Award Preseason Watch List, which was unveiled Thursday afternoon. Watson and Goolsby are two of the 90 players selected as early candidates to receive the Butkus Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
Watson, a 2002 Butkus Award finalist and 2003 preseason first-team All-America selection by numerous media outlets, led the Irish with 90 tackles last season despite missing three games due to injury. He was named a first-team All-American by ESPN.com, a second-team All-America choice by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and a third-team All-America selection by The Sporting News and Associated Press. In addition to his place on the ’03 Butkus Award Preseason Watch List, Watson has been tapped for this year’s Bronko Nagurski Award Watch List, signifying his candidacy for the honor given to the nation’s top defensive player.
After two years in a reserve role, Goolsby started all 13 games for Notre Dame last season, ranking third on the team with 75 tackles, including a team-high 13 tackles for loss. He also carded four sacks and logged his first career interception in the regular-season finale at USC. He and Watson were key figures on an Irish defense that ranked in the top 13 in the nation in four different categories, including ninth in scoring defense (16.69 ppg.) and 10th in rushing defense (95.23 ypg.).
Fresh off a 10-3 record and appearance in the Toyota Gator Bowl in 2002, Notre Dame will kick off its rugged ’03 schedule on Sept. 6 when they play host to Rose Bowl participant Washington State at 1:30 p.m. (EST) at Notre Dame Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by NBC.
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