There’s been plenty of hype surrounding Michigan’s defensive line duo of Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary, but linebacker Mike McCray is the defense’s lone returning full-time starter.
McCray, a rising senior, was named Monday to the watch list for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s top linebacker. McCray is one of 51 players to earn a spot on the watch list.
McCray was the Wolverines’ second-leading tackler a season ago, making 76, including 12.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. He also had a pair of interceptions, and seven pass breakups, as well as a fumble recovery.
Michigan’s last Butkus Award winner was Erick Anderson in 1991. Alabama’s Reuben Foster won the award last season.
Also on Monday, Western Michigan’s Darius Phillips was named to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award, given to the nation’s most versatile player. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers won the award last season.