Jordon Dizon led the Big 12 in tackles this year, averaging 12.4 per game. Big 12 opposing coaches took notice and voted him the conference defensive POY. (Coaches could not vote for their own players).
“He is very deserving,” said CU head coach Dan Hawkins. “Good things happen to good people and he is one of those guys. He has had a tremendous season; he’s played very well and been very productive. He has been very consistent and very solid, all the things I’ve said before. He shows up every day, he’s a very humble guy, he plays hurt, great leader—just very solid all the way around.”
Dizon also earned the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year award in 2004.
On Tuesday, Dizon reflected some of the honor's spotlight onto coaches and teammates.
"There are a lot of tangibles that go on behind this," Dizon said. "I have to thank my coaches, Coach Cabral and Coach Hawk. I have to thank my D-line, Brandon Nicolas and George Hypolite because with out both of them none of this would have been possible.”
Asked what makes Dizon special, Hawkins said: “The guy has a relentless motor. We always talk about playing hard, playing smart and having fun and he does that. It is always one of those intangibles, and it is kind of hard to figure out exactly why some guys are going to work harder, whether you are a writer or a football player. Generally at the end of the day, the guys who can grind and grind hard every day are usually pretty successful.”
The 6-foot, 225-pounder from Kauai, Hawaii, is one of three finalists for the Butkus Award. Hawkins said again on Tuesday he thinks Dizon is deserving of that honor, too.
“He should be the Butkus (Award) guy as well,” Hawkins said. “Just his production, you look at what he has done and the schedule we have played. Again, it’s easy to say we all like our own guys, but we’ve had a lot of (scouts) who have seen every football player in America come through here and it is pretty much a unanimous call by them that he is the best linebacker in the country.”
Dizon said potentially winning the Butkus isn't important to him.
"It’d be really nice to win it," he said, "but I’d rather go out and win a bowl game. I’d rather have a bowl game so that I can spend an extra three or four weeks with the guys I call my brothers and see as part of my family. It is a lot more important to me to get to go to a bowl and spend another three or four weeks with these guys than it is to win the Butkus."
The winner will be announced Dec. 7. Dizon and the other two finalists, James Laurinitis (Ohio State) and Dan Connor (Penn State) will be flown to Orlando where the award is handed out. That date is not lost on the Hawaiian native.
"It is on December 7, in Orlando (Fla.), so I’ll fly down there and be there for a few days," he said. "Pearl Harbor day, December 7, 1941 — just a little Hawaiian history.”
Wheatley made the first team all-conference squad despite missing the final two games with a broken foot. Offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus was voted to the second team. RB Hugh Charles, PK Kevin Eberhart, OL Edwin Harrison, DT Brandon Nicolas and Wheatley (as a kick returner) were named honorable mention.
For a list of the Big 12 postseason awards and teams, visit: Big 12 all-conference