(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Wyoming linebacker Chad Muma was named one of six finalists for the prestigious Butkus Award on Monday. The Butkus Award honors the nation’s best linebackers in the nation. This is the 37th year of the Butkus Award.
Selection is handled by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists who vote separately and confidentially using a 3-2-1 process, with a write-in option offered. Selectors and selection criteria are posted at www.thebutkusaward.com [thebutkusaward.com].
Muma becomes the second Wyoming Cowboy in three years to be named a finalist for the Butkus Award. Former Cowboy linebacker Logan Wilson was named a finalist in 2019, and now stars for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.
Muma is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in solo tackles (6.8 per game) and is ranked No. 4 in the nation in total tackles (10.9 per game). He is also tied for No. 2 in the nation in interceptions returned for touchdowns, with two Pick Sixes on the season. He has recorded double figures in tackles in 10 of 11 games this season.
He has also been invited to participate in this year’s Reese’s Senior Bowl, which will be played Saturday, Feb. 5 in Mobile, Ala.
Muma first made his mark as one of the nation’s top linebackers in 2020. He ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 3 in the nation in tackles, averaging 11.8 tackles per game. He also ranked No. 16 in the nation in solo tackles, averaging 5.5 per game. Muma was selected First Team All-Mountain West by MW head coaches and media in 2020.
Finalists in both the college and high school divisions were announced on Monday. Winners will be announced on or before December 7. The pro winner will be announced in early 2022.
The Butkus Award is partnering with Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa, Rancho Mirage, Calif. to celebrate Butkus Award winners. The event is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Contact the Butkus Foundation for ticket and sponsorship information.
The Award’s namesake Dick Butkus, who was recognized by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.
Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs.
The Butkus Award® is presented by the Butkus Foundation and selected by a 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists. The award is part of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935. Visit www.NCFAA.org [ncfaa.org] for more information.
Butkus Award 2021 Collegiate Finalists
Chad Muma, Wyoming
Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati
Nakobe Dean, Georgia
Damone Clark, LSU
Devin Lloyd, Utah
Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
Butkus Award 2021 High School Finalists
Joshua Burnham, Traverse City Central, Traverse City, Mich.
Jalon Walker, Salisbury, Salisbury, N.C.
C.J. Hicks, Archbishop Alter, Dayton, Ohio
Jaylen Sneed, Hilton Head, Hilton Head, S.C.
Harold Perkins, Cypress Park, Cypress, Texas
Shawn Murphy, Unity Reed, Manassas, Va.
Stone was named the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in Saturday's 44-17 road win at Utah State.
Stone returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the 1st quarter at Utah State, giving Wyoming a 14-7 lead on way to a 44-17 road victory. It was Stone’s first career kickoff return for a TD.
The 99-yard return was the second longest in Wyoming’s 125-year history. Only a 100-yard kickoff return by Wyoming’s Sonny Jones vs. Colorado College in 1948 was longer.
Stone’s 99-yard return came immediately after USU had tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.
The sophomore from Rosharon, Texas, added a second kickoff return of 25 yards in the game to account for 124 yards in kickoff returns and average 62.0 yards per return.
It is the first Mountain West Player of the Week award of Stone’s career.