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Olakunle Fatukasi continues to earn preseason accolades

The Scarlet Knights’ linebacker has been named to two more prestigious award watch lists prior to the start of the season.

Penn State v Rutgers Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images

It has been a busy month for Olakunle Fatukasi.

Rutgers learned that it was getting its best defensive player back for the 2021 season back in December. The Scarlet Knights have one of their core players back and Fatukasi is certainly getting the recognition he deserves.

On July 19, Fatukasi was named to the Bednarik Award Watch List. This week, he has added two more watch lists for prestigious honors. On Monday, Fatukasi added to the Butkus Award Watch List and the Nagurski Trophy Watch List the following day.

Fatukasi was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award in 2020. This is given to the nation’s top linebacker each season and has been given to the likes of Brian Bosworth (twice), Luke Kuechly, Von Miller, Patrick Willis, and C.J. Mosley. Last season, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah took home the honor.

The Nagurski Trophy is presented by the Football Writers Association of America to the National Defensive Player of the Year. This was the third preseason watch list that Fatukasi has been featured on. This is no surprise when looking at the year he put up in 2020.

Fatukasi led the Big Ten with 11.2 tackles per game. This was also good for ninth in the country. He totaled 101 tackles and logged double-digit stops in six of nine games last season.

Greg Schiano brought Fatukasi to Indianapolis for Big Ten Media Day last week. He is a legitimate NFL prospect and spoke on his potential at the next level.

“Right now, I’m just working on a lot of things,” Fatukasi said. “I can just get better everyday but right now, I’m just trying to be everyday a better leader. Help led the team better. Help lead the guys right here, my football team, so we can all be great in the future and go into training camp with a great mindset.”

After a 3-6 campaign and some significant improvements in 2020, Fatukasi and the Scarlet Knights have a chance to take another step forward. Fatukasi will enter the year as one of the leaders and there will be plenty of eyes on him in the middle of the defense.