ATLANTA (August 20) — Georgia Tech linebacker Chris Edwards is among the 65 candidates announced for the Butkus Award as the nation’s best collegiate linebacker. The Butkus Award, celebrating its 15th anniversary, is presented annually by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando, Inc. The watch list will be trimmed to 10 semifinalists on Oct. 21, and then three finalists will be announced on Nov. 11. The winner will be named Dec. 10.
Edwards, a senior from Warthen, Ga., is one of the top returnees on a Tech defense that returns six starters from a year ago, when the Yellow Jackets set an NCAA record by returning seven fumbles for touchdowns.
A preseason all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection by The Sporting News, Edwards moved into the starting lineup midway through the 1998 season, starting the final five games. The 6-5, 225-pounder was sixth on the team in tackles with 53, along with one sack, two tackles for loss and one caused fumble. He averaged almost nine tackles a game over the final five regular-season contests.
Edwards headlines a linebacker corps that also returns starter Matt Miller, a junior from Alpharetta, Ga. Sophomore Nick Rogers (East Point, Ga.) is also working with the first team.
On their final day of two-a-day practices, the 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets spent the latter part of Friday morning’s workouts on the two-minute drill.
That to me is basically concentration and every player making great effort to get to where they belong, said Tech head coach George O’Leary. Today was the first time we installed it. We’ll see more of it when the defense and offense get together so we can put both sides in situations that will see in games.
Last season, the Jackets won two games (Clemson and Georgia) in the final minute and two others (Virginia and Notre Dame) in which the offense had to score in the final eight minutes.