Aaron Curry #51 LB
Height: 6-2 Weight: 255 Age: 27
Born: 4/6/1986 Fayetteville , NC
College: Wake Forest
Experience: 4th season
High School: E.E. Smith HS [Fayetteville, NC]
Selected By: Seattle Seahawks
Pick (Overall): 4 (4)
The 2008 Butkus Award winner, given to the nation's top linebacker, Curry so impressed the award's namesake that Dick Butkus surprised him in early December when he arrived on campus to personally hand the award to its recipient.
Curry started 49 of the 51 games he appeared in, going on to rank third in school annals with 45.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The All-American defender also finished ninth on Wake Forest's all-time record list with 332 total tackles.
Curry outstanding field vision and ball awareness skills saw him not only wreak havoc in the opposition's backfield on the blitz, but also excel in pass coverage. He returned three of his four interceptions for touchdowns as a junior, tying the NCAA single-season record for linebackers that was first set by Malcolm Postell of Pittsburgh, who also had three in 2004. Only cornerback Deltha O'Neal of California scored more on interception returns in a season (four in 1999) in major college annals.
Curry gained a total of 226 yards on those interception returns in 2007, setting the school and Atlantic Coast Conference single-season records. He was just the third player in league annals to gain more than 200 yards on interception returns in a season. His 226 yards placed fifth in NCAA history, becoming the 10th college player to gain more than 200 yards.
At E.E. Smith High School, Curry was a standout outside linebacker and tight end. He was named Conference Defensive Player of the Year and also earned All-Conference and All-Region honors after registering 123 tackles during his senior year. He was selected to the North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl as a tight end.
Curry was the prize recruit from Wake Forest's 2004 class, but spent the season performing on the scout team. He entered 2005 fall camp behind Caron Bracy and James Adams at strong-side outside linebacker, but emerged as the starter at that position for 10 games, earning Freshman All-American second-team honors. He collected 45 tackles (28 solos) with a 15-yard sack and 7.5 stops for losses. He also blocked a punt that he recovered for a 13-yard return.
Curry started all 14 games at strong-side linebacker in 2006. He finished second on the squad with 83 tackles (52 solos), including 8.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and three sacks. His first career interception came vs. Georgia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, returning the ball 30 yards to set up a scoring drive.
Curry was named second-team All-American in 2007, twice receiving ACC Player of the Week honors. The strong-side linebacker started 12 games, snapping a sting of 30 consecutive starts when he came off the bench vs. Navy (was punished by the coaching staff for missing class prior to that contest). He delivered 99 tackles (61 solos) with three sacks and led the team with 13.5 stops for loss. His 226 yards via four interception returns set the school single-season record, as his 84-yard run back vs. Army was the fifth-longest interception return in Demon Deacon history.
The All-American and All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team choice led the team with a career-high 105 tackles (66 solos). The Butkus Award winner also paced the defense with 16 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, adding 2.5 sacks with an interception, as he also recovered three fumbles, caused another and broke up three passes.