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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dizon Named Butkus Award Semifinalist

BOULDERUniversity of Colorado senior linebacker Jordon Dizon has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Dick Butkus Award, presented annually to the nation’s best linebacker by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando.

Dizon is looking to become the third Colorado Buffalo to win the award, one of the first created to honor the best at a specific position. Outside linebacker Alfred Williams won from CU’s national championship team in 1990, with inside ‘backer Matt Russell claiming the honor in 1996.

Dizon is the nation’s leading tackler, and has been for all but one week this season, as he has 97, or an average of 13.9 per game, with 71 being solo stops. But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of what he has accomplished or meant to CU’s defense.

The Buffs’ defensive captain, he’s played 447 snaps this season—all but 12 by the CU defense. He has seven tackles for losses, including three quarterback sacks, and another eight for zero gains by the opponent, all team bests, as are his 12 third down stops. The school record in the latter is 18, which he flirted with a season ago in coming up one short.

He also has an interception, two pass break-ups, four hurries, two near-sacks, a forced fumble and a caused interception. On special teams, he’s had another tackle and two knockdown blocks. Dizon has 12 or more tackles in six of CU’s seven games, including a career-high 22 in the opener against Colorado State. He had 17 in game two at Arizona State in 100-degree heat, along with four third down stops and three for losses, and racked up 15 at Baylor when he made his first career interception.

In Colorado’s 27-24 win over No. 3 Oklahoma, he had 13 tackles, including a key fourth quarter sack on third down against Sooners signal caller Sam Bradford.

The always humble Dizon was modest about being selected as a semifinalist. “It’s definitely an honor, but it would mean more to me to win the Big 12 Championship than any individual accolades.”

“Great players are a reflection of great coaches, and I have to give all credit to Coach (Brian) Cabral,” Dizon added. “He’s been there to help me improve since Day One and I just have to keep working hard for him and my team.” Cabral also coached Russell and was on the staff when Williams earned it.

Dizon is now fifth all-time at Colorado in tackles with 377, which also includes the fifth-most solo stops with 244. Barry Remington is CU’s all-time leader with 493, with Russell second (446), Greg Biekert third (441) and Ted Johnson fourth (409). Biekert was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 1992, while Johnson was a finalist in ’94.

“He’s probably the most complete, every down player that I’ve ever coached,” Cabral said, which is saying something consider that he has coached eight of the top 15 tacklers in school history. “He’s the only player I’ve had start for me for four years, which is a tremendous accomplishment for him. He’s enjoying his best season as Buffalo.”

Dizon was the lone semifinalist from the Big 12 Conference; joining him in the final 10 are Dan Connor (Penn State), Shawn Crable (Michigan), Erin Henderson (Maryland), Ali Highsmith (LSU), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State), Jeremy Leman (Illinois), Ben Moffitt (South Florida), Keith Rivers (USC) and Wesley Woodyard (Kentucky).

The list will be narrowed to three finalists by the Butkus selection committee on November 9, with the winner to be announced in Orlando in December.

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