Jordon Dizon has 97 tackles so far this season, most in the nation. Voting members for the Butkus Award Trophy, who include college sports writers from around the country, have taken notice.
Two Buffaloes have earned the trophy in the past. Alfred Williams was Butkus Award winner in 1990 and Matt Russell in 1996.
Dizon, the lone Big 12 player on the semifinalist list, gave praise to his coach, Brian Cabral, when he learned he was on the list Thursday.
“Great players are a reflection of great coaches, and I have to give all credit to Coach Cabral,” Dizon said. “He’s been there to help me improve since Day 1 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 also said there’s something he wants more than the individual honor.
“It’s definitely an honor, but it would mean more to me to win the Big 12 Championship than any individual accolades,” said the four-year starter from Hawaii.
Dizon has played in all but 12 snaps on defense this season. Along with his 97 stops, he has seven tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception.
He’s totaled 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.
Dizon is now fifth all-time at Colorado in tackles with 377.
“He’s probably the most complete, every down player that I’ve ever coached,” said Cabral, who 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.”
Also on the semifinalist list 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 pared to three finalists Nov. 8, and the winner announced at an awards ceremony hosted by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando in December.