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Dion Bailey named to Butkus Award Watch List

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USC linebacker Dion Bailey has been named to the Butkus Award watch list, it was announced today.

The Butkus Award is awarded annually to the top linebackers in high school, college and the NFL.

The watch list contains 51 candidates, honoring the now-retired professional jersey number of Dick Butkus, who is regarded by NFL Films as the best defensive player in football history.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is the only returning finalist, after winning the award in high school in 2008, while Georgia's Jarvis Jones is a returning semi-finalist.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Bailey tied for the team lead in tackles (81) with fellow redshirt freshman Hayes Pullard. Bailey was named the 2011 Pac-12 Freshmen Defensive Player of the Year and made the All Pac-12 Second Team, too.