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Butkus Award Adds Hull to Preseason Watch List

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Senior Mike Hull

July 14, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; July 11, 2014 - Senior linebacker Mike Hull (Canonsburg, Pa.) was selected as one of 51 players - matching the professional jersey number of Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus - named to the Butkus Award Preseason Watch List.

Presented annually since 1985, "Linebacker U." All-Americans LaVar Arrington (1999) and Paul Posluszny (2005) are former winners of the Butkus Award. Nittany Lions Shane Conlan (1986), Andre Collins (1989), Brandon Short (1999), Posluszny (2006) and Dan Connor (2007) were finalists for the Butkus Award.

Most recently, Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti were both named semifinalists for the award in 2012, making Penn State the only school with multiple semifinalists for the prestigious award.

A first-team preseason All-Big Ten selection by Athlon Sports and Lindy's, Hull is ready to add his name to the long line of "Linebacker U." products from the Pittsburgh area during the Big Ten era -- including the likes of Arrington, Sean Lee, Posluszny and Short. Last season, he was second on the team with 78 tackles (44 solo) last year despite missing two full games and most of two others due to injury. He added 4.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one forced and one recovered fumble.

The Canonsburg, Pa. native ranked fifth in the conference with 9.1 tackles per game in Big Ten play, making at least nine tackles in six Big Ten games. Hull came up huge on some of the biggest stages, recording 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss on Michigan's final drive of regulation, and an athletic pass breakup, in the four-overtime win over the No. 18 Wolverines. He logged a career-high 13 stops - seven solo - in an overtime victory against Illinois and made a team-best seven tackles in the season finale win at No. 14 Wisconsin.

The Butkus Award honors outstanding linebackers at three levels of play - high school, college and professional. Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School. More information is at

The 2013 Professional Butkus Award winner was former Penn State standout and current San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman. He is a three-time first-team All-Pro and helped the 49ers to three straight NFC Championship games. Bowman's 437 tackles over the last three seasons are the most in the NFL, with Pasluszny ranking third with 419.

Semi-finalists will be named October 27, finalists November 24, and winners will be notified on or before December 9. The Pro Butkus Award winner will be announced in January 2014.

An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.

The Nittany Lions now have six players on six different preseason watch lists: Kyle Carter (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Christian Hackenberg (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP), Mike Hull (Butkus - Nation's Top Linebacker). Jesse James (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Jordan Lucas (Bednarik - Defensive Player of the Year, Thorpe - Nation's Top Defensive Back) and Donovan Smith (Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Interior Lineman).

James Franklin was named Penn State's 16th head football coach on January 11. A product of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success the past three years as head coach, including consecutive nine-win seasons and bowl victories the past two years, as well as back-to-back Top 25 finishes, all for the first time in Vanderbilt history. In his 20th year of coaching, Franklin was a two-time All-PSAC quarterback at East Stroudsburg University and set or tied 23 school records.

More than 4,000 new Penn State football season tickets have been sold for the 2014 campaign. There again was no increase in season tickets prices for Penn State football for the upcoming season.

Fans are now able to purchase Penn State football season tickets and make their Nittany Lion Club donation online at, while choosing their own seats by utilizing Virtual Venue. New season tickets also are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Recent Graduate ticket program gives Penn State graduates who earned an undergraduate degree from 2010-14 at any campus the opportunity to purchase up to two season tickets for $300 per ticket for the seven-game home schedule this fall. The cost includes a $50 donation to the Nittany Lion Club and is a savings of 35 percent from the regular $460 season ticket price ($360 + $100 NLC donation).

More than 600 Recent Graduate program season tickets have been sold. Interested recent graduates can call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Penn State returns 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist) for the upcoming season and will play a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams this fall. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.

The Nittany Lions open the season Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland.

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