Nakobe Dean deserves to be the 2021 Butkus Award winner

Nakobe Dean. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Nakobe Dean. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

On Sunday, Georgia football linebacker Nakobe Dean was named the winner of the 2021 Butkus award given to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker. Dean is actually a two-time Butkus winner as he won the high school version of the award as a senior in 2018.

The junior becomes the second Butkus award winner in the history of Georgia football, joining former Bulldog and current Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith who won it back in 2017.

On the year, Dean is tied as the team’s leading tackler with 61 total tackles. He is also leading the team with Jalen Carter in tackles for loss at 8.5. and leads the team in sacks with five.

Dean recorded five pass breakups, 20 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble, and two interceptions, one of them being a 50-yard pick-six against Florida.

Georgia football junior Nakobe Dean officially is the best linebacker in college football.

Much like Smith, Dean’s stats and on-field leadership proved why they both are Butkus winners. There wasn’t another linebacker out there that performed like Dean, much less had the impact he does on this defense.

He was field general of this great Georgia defense, and often helped with on-field adjustments and directed players to their proper formations pre-snap. Georgia is currently ranked No. 2 in total defense this year and allowed no more than 17 points in each game in the regular season.

Dean is a native of Horn Lake, Miss., and was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school. He was ranked by 247 Sports as the second-best inside linebacker in the nation during his recruitment. He is also projected by many to be a first-round NFL draft pick in 2022.

Other Georgia players are up for individual awards this season as well. Quarterback Stetson Bennett is a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, an award given to a player who began his college career as a walk-on. Senior defensive tackle Jordan Davis is a finalist for the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.

Punter Jake Camarda will likely be a finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to the nation’s best punter.

Despite the humiliating SEC Championship loss to Alabama on Saturday, Dean and the Dawgs will have more football to play this year, as Georgia was ranked No. 3 in the final College Football Playoff.

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They will face No. 2 Michigan in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve for a shot to play in the CFP National Championship game.