Notre Dame senior linebacker Nyles Morgan has been named to the 2017 Butkus Award Watch List.
The Butkus Award is given out annually to the nation's top linebacker and is named for Dick Butkus, the University of Illinois and Chicago Bears linebacker that is a member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Morgan heads into his second full season as Notre Dame's starter at Mike linebacker after leading Notre Dame with 90 tackles and four sacks last fall. Morgan had five games with at least 10 tackles last season, including a career-high of 13 tackles (9 solo) in the season opener against Texas.
The former consensus Top 100 recruit should flourish in defensive coordinator Mike Elko's new defensive system. Morgan will go from playing in more of a read-and-react defense to a more aggressive system that will use his power and athletic skills to a greater degree.
Elko's starting Mike linebacker in 2016 at Wake Forest - Marquel Lee - finished with 105 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. If Morgan comes anywhere close to those numbers he will be in the mix to win this award.
This award has been handed out annually since 1985, when former Oklahoma All-American Brian Bosworth won it in back-to-back seasons.
Notre Dame has had two former linebackers win the Butkus Award. Former All-American Manti Te'o won the award in 2012 and standout linebacker Jaylon Smith won the award in 2015.