Wake Forest's Aaron Curry Wins Butkus Award
Dec. 9, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest senior linebacker Aaron Curry was presented today with the Butkus Award, honoring the nation’s top collegiate linebacker. Hall of Famer Dick Butkus and his son Matt presented the award during Coach Jim Grobe’s media luncheon on Tuesday.
“It’s amazing and an honor to receive this award,” Curry said. “To be mentioned in the same sentence as Dick Butkus with the things he has done on the field and off the field, I’m just hoping that I get the chance to repeat the same intensity he instilled and the determination to punish the opponent.”
A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Curry received 14 first place votes and 63 total points to finish first in the voting. USC’s Rey Maualuga finished second with 56 points, while 2007 Butkus Award recipient James Laurinaitis of Ohio State finished third with 45 points. Closing out the top five was Brian Cushing of USC in fourth place with 27 points and Mark Herzlich of Boston College in fifth place with 11 points.
“I know I got the right guy,” Butkus said. “And if you see the list, it’s quite a list. It was a tight choice, but we’re satisfied with who we have picking them. And if you’ve seen this guy play, you know he deserves it.
“Like it says on the trophy, he’s getting this trophy and the recognition for being the outstanding linebacker in 2008, but the second paragraph says that he should not flinch from giving back. We’re really fortunate that we’ve gotten to do something that we really love to do, and there’s a responsibility that goes along with that whether you like it or not. I certainly didn’t like it, but I can see what good you can do. And just like with Aaron, I want him, and all other past winners, although you got recognized for your play, now off the field I don’t want you to shrink from helping and giving back.”
Curry finished the regular season with a team-leading 101 tackles and 15 tackles for loss. A 2008 First Team All-ACC honoree, Curry contributed three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and an interception, helping Wake Forest to 35 takeaways this season, which ranks second nationally. Curry also led Wake Forest to its school-record third consecutive bowl game, the EagleBank Bowl on December 20 in Washington, D.C., against Navy.
Curry becomes the fourth Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker to win the award. Others include E.J. Henderson of Maryland in 2002, Miami’s Dan Morgan in 2000 and Marvin Jones of Florida State in 1992.