Conner on Butkus watch list

Conner on Butkus watch list

Clemson senior linebacker Kavell Conner is one of 35 players on the 2009 Butkus Award Watch list.

He is the third Clemson defensive player on an award watch list on the Clemson defense this year. Crezdon Butler and Chris Chancellor are both on the preseason Watch List for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given to the top defensive back in college football.

Conner is one of eight ACC players on the list. He is joined by Bruce Carter of North Carolina, Nate Irving of NC State, Mike McLaughlin of Boston College, Daryl Sharpton of Miami (FL), Sean Spence of Miami (FL), Quan Sturdivant of North Carolina and Dekoda Watson of Florida State.

Clemson has had four players reach at least the final 10 in the voting for the Butkus Award, which is named after former Illinois and Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. Levon Kirkland was a finalist in 1990, then teammate Ed McDaniel was a finalist in 1991. Anthony Simmons was one of 10 semifinalists in 1997, while Keith Adams was one of three finalists in 2000.

Conner, a native of Richmond, VA, had 125 tackles last season to lead the Clemson team. He tied for 10th in the ACC in tackles and now has 202 for his career, third among active league players. Conner began the year with an 18-tackle performance against Alabama in the Georgia Dome, tying a Clemson record for tackles in a season opener. That is his career high for a single game. He added 11 tackles in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl against Nebraska.

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