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Olakunle Fatukasi named Butkus Award semifinalist

The Scarlet Knights’ linebacker continues to make an impact.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Rutgers at Michigan Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Butkus Award semifinal list has been cut to 16 and for the second-consecutive year, Olakule Fatukasi is mentioned. This is an award that is presented the the best linebacker in the nation and this is the level that Fatukasi has been playing for two years now.

In 2021, Fatukasi currently leads Rutgers with 71 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He is ranked 10th nationally and third in the Big Ten with 9.9 tackles per game. He has 11 tackles-for-loss and a safety, which came in the season opener against Temple. Fatukasi has totaled at least eight tackles in every game this season and a season-high of 13 against Syracuse and Northwestern.

The Scarlet Knight linebacker has added two forced fumbles and two pass breakups this season. This comes after a campaign in 2020 where Fatukasi totaled 101 tackles and a Big Ten best 11.2 per game.

Fatukasi has been a tackling machine over the course of his career. He is just eight tackles away from 300 and he would become the 12th player in Rutgers’ history to reach this mark.

The finalists for the Butkus Award will be revealed on Nov. 22. Fatukasi is currently one of three Big Ten linebackers to appear on the semifinal list — along with Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal and Penn State’s Brandon Smith. You can find the full list below:

  • Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma
  • Darrian Beavers, Cincinnati
  • Darien Butler, Arizona State
  • Jack Campbell, Iowa
  • Leo Chenal, Wisconsin
  • Damone Clark, LSU
  • Nakobe Dean, Georgia
  • Olakunle Fatukasi, Rutgers
  • Christian Harris, Alabama
  • Nate Landman, Colorado
  • Devin Lloyd, Utah
  • Chad Muma, Wyoming
  • DeMarvion Overshown, Texas
  • Malcolm Rodriguez, Oklahoma State
  • Noah Sewell, Oregon
  • Brandon Smith, Penn State

Fatukasi will lead the Rutgers’ defense as they return home to take on Wisconsin on Saturday at SHI Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM.