LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football player Bobby Wagner was named to the 2011 Butkus Award, honoring the nation’s top linebacker in college football.The Collegiate Butkus Award watch list includes 51 candidates from 40 universities across 10 conferences. Wagner is one of three linebackers from the Western Athletic Conference, joined by Corey Paredes of Hawai’i and James-Michael Johnson of Nevada. Wagner is also the only player from the state of Utah on the list.This is the third preseason Watch List to include Wagner, as the Aggie linebacker is also on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, for the nation’s best defensive player, and the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List, for the nation’s college lineman of the year. “All of these honors are very humbling to me,” Wagner said. “It is a great honor to get this type of recognition and be considered among the best linebackers in the nation. With the added recognition comes the added motivation to continue working hard and have another solid season to prove that these preseason honors are merited.”Wagner, a native of Ontario, Calif. (Colony HS) is a two-time first-team all-WAC honoree. Last season, he led the WAC and ranked tied for seventh in FBS with 11.1 tackles per game, ranking second in the WAC with 133 total tackles in 2010 season. Wagner enters his senior season nearing USU’s and WAC’s career tackles list, as he currently has 299 career stops, needing 22 tackles to break into the Aggies’ top 10 list and 18 stop to crack the WAC’s top 10. In 2010, Wagner tallied a WAC-best four 15+ tackle outings, including two 17-stop games, a 16-tackle game and a 15-tackle outing. On the season, he logged a total of seven double-digit tackle games, and had at least six stops in all 12 games. Additionally, Wagner added eight tackles for loss with half a sack, as well as four pass breakups and one forced fumble.”These are great honors for not only Bobby, but our program as well. It shows the rewards that can come from hard work in the offseason to get better each and every day,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “Bobby is a leader in our program and other players see his work ethic and how hard he works and they follow his leaadership. He is well-deserving of all of these honors.”The 2011 Butkus Award Watch List is the first to include a Utah State linebacker since Jake Hutton and Paul Igboeli were on the 2008 Watch List.Wagner is one of Utah State’s 46 returning letterwinners (29 offense, 16 defense, one special teams), including 17 starters (10 offense, six defense, one special teams), from last season’s 4-8 overall mark, and 2-6 in WAC play, in head coach Gary Andersen’s second season at the helm of the Aggie program.After its season-opener at Auburn, Utah State’s home opener is on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. (MT), taking on in-state foe Weber State, marking the first time that USU and WSU have squared off since 2001, and Utah State leads the all-time series, 11-1. The Aggie-Wildcat match-up will have special meaning for Andersen, who will be facing his mentor, Weber State head coach Ron McBride. Andersen played for McBride at Utah in 1985-86.For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics. -USU-
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