Thursday, December 07, 2006

Willis Wins the Butkus

The honors continue for Patrick Willis as he won the Butkus award a couple of hours ago. To be honest I did not think Willis had a chance to win the award going into the ceremony. With the way things are in modern day sports, only players whose teams that are at the top in there league win awards. I was glad to see that the voters actually looked at true talent instead of what team he played for. Willis was also named to the Walter Camp All American team.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Ole Miss senior linebacker Patrick Willis was named the 2006 Butkus Award winner on Thursday evening at the 2006 Home Depot/ESPN College Football Awards Show. Willis, a Bruceton, Tenn., native is the first player from the state of Mississippi to take home the award honoring the nation's top linebacker.
"My heart was beating so fast I didn't hear them call my name," said Willis, who was named 2006 SEC Defensive Player of the Year by both The Associated Press and the league coaches. "My foster mother turned to me and told me they called my name, I'm still in shock."

"I would like to thank my head coach Ed Orgeron, my foster parents Chris and Julie Finley, my teammates and the entire Ole Miss family for supporting me throughout my career," said Willis, who became just the second player from the SEC to win the award joining Alabama's Derrick Thomas who took it home in 1988. "I feel so honored to have my name listed next to Dick Butkus, as he is one of the all-time greatest linebackers to play the game. Words cannot describe how thrilled I am to be able to accept this award."

"We are very ecstatic for Patrick," said Orgeron. "This was one of the reason's he came back, to help put Ole Miss in the national spotlight. Winning this award brings prominence to Ole Miss on the national level and let's linebackers around the country know the importance we place on the position. Patrick plays with the tremendous passion of a Warren Sapp. He is very deserving of this award."