As the summer hits the long stretches of July, we are treated to the several watch lists for college football’s postseason awards. While these lists are in no way final and don’t exclude anyone not on the preseason list from winning it in December, it can be a good barometer for the level of respect media members have for certain players. One standout who should feel snubbed by the people responsible for the Butkus Award is Michael Doctor of the Oregon State Beavers.
The Butkus Award is given annually to the top linebacker in the country. The Pac 12 was well represented with 11 players listed from seven different programs. Doctor, however, didn’t make the cut despite having the production in 2012 that should have got him noticed. When he is stacked up against some of the linebackers who did get included on the list, the omission becomes even more glaring.
Doctor led Oregon State with 83 tackles in 2012, with 11 tackles for loss and an interception. That is more tackles and tackles for loss than Boseko Lokombo of the Oregon Ducks, Derrick Webb of the Colorado Buffaloes and Trevor Reilly of the Utah Utes, all of whom were listed on the Butkus Award watch list. Doctor showed he was a capable leader for the Beavers and had the production to back it up.
The only area that Doctor struggled in was with the pass rush. All the other candidates showed an ability to rush the passer. Doctor, on the other hand, had zero sacks and no quarterback hurries in 2012. He excelled against the run, getting downfield in a hurry to make plays in the backfield, but wasn’t a factor in Oregon State’s pass rush last season.
If he can add a pass rush to his repertoire in 2013, Doctor will be impossible to ignore when it comes time to discussing the top linebackers in the Pac 12. Will it be enough to earn him the attention of the Butkus Award voters?