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Hayes Pullard Named Butkus Award Semifinalist

Pullard leads the team with 59 tackles through eight games.

Shotgun Spratling/Conquest Chronicles

Hayes Pullard, who has been the unspoken leader of the USC defense this season, was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award on Monday. The Butkus Award is given annually to the top collegiate linebacker.

Pullard is a four-year starter for the Trojans and was named as a captain for the second year in a row during Fall Camp. Pullard leads the team with 59 tackles and also has 2.5 tackles for a loss this season. Leading the team in tackles is nothing new for Pullard.

He led the team with 94 last year and his 81 as a freshman was good enough to tie Dion Bailey for the team lead. Coincidentally, his highest total came in 2012 when he wrapped up 107 offensive players, but he finished second in tackles behind T.J. McDonald.

After redshirting his first year on campus, the durable Pullard hasn't missed a game since. He is looking to be the first Trojan since Dennis Johnson in 1977-79 to lead USC in tackles in three seasons.

If Hayes Pullard wins the award, he would become the second Trojan to win, joining Chris Claiborne who won in 1998.

Finalists for the Butkus Award will be named Nov. 24 and the winner by December 9 by an independent panel of 51 recruiters, scouts, coaches and journalists.