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Washington sackmaster Hau'oli Kikaha heads Butkus list

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Stephen Brashear/Associated Press
Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha has recorded 17.5 sacks this season.

Washington's Hau'oli Kikaha, who is tied for the national lead in sacks and leads in tackles for loss, heads the list of five finalists for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's top linebacker.

Kikaha, a senior, has 17.5 sacks and is tied with Utah defensive end Nate Orchard for the most in the nation. Kikaha also has 23.5 tackles for loss.


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He is joined as a finalist by UCLA's Eric Kendricks, Miami's Denzel Perryman, Michigan's Jake Ryan and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith. Smith is a sophomore; the others are seniors.

Interestingly, Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright is not a finalist. Wright, who has 126 tackles, 12 sacks and 22 tackles for loss, is a finalist for both the Nagurski Award, which goes to the nation's top defender, and the Lombardi Award, which goes to the nation's top lineman or linebacker. Kikaha also is a Lombardi finalist.

Texas' Jordan Hicks and Penn State's Mike Hull also would've been legitimate finalists.


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The winner will be announced Dec. 9.

Last season's recipient was Alabama's C.J. Mosley, and other past winners include Boston College's Luke Kuechly in 2011, Mississippi's Patrick Willis in 2006, Ohio State's Andy Katzenmoyer in 1997 and Oklahoma's Brian Bosworth in 1985 and '86.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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