Buckeyes added to Butkus, Lombardi watch lists

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Ohio State linebacker Etienne Sabino became the seventh Buckeye to be added to a watch list this offseason, when the senior linebacker was named to the watch list for the Butkus Award on Monday.

Presented by the Butkus Foundation, the award is annually given to college football's top linebacker. Ohio State players to win the award since its inception in 1985 include Andy Katzenmoyer(1997) and James Laurinaitis(2007).

A fifth-year senior out of Miami, Fla., Sabino is entering his second season as a starting outside linebacker for the Buckeyes. In 2011, he recorded 62 tackles- including 6.5 for a loss- two sacks, and recovered one fumble.

Having arrived on the Ohio State campus in 2008, Sabino said that he's grown from his experiences in Columbus.

"I think it is having a better understanding of the game itself," Sabino said. "Just football in general and technique, just small things that come with time."

The 6-foot-3 Sabino wasn't the only Buckeye to be honored on Monday, as Ohio State defensive end John Simon, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and tight end Jake Stoneburner were each named to the watch list for the Lombardi Award.

Presented by the Rotary Club in Houston, Texas, the Lombardi Award is rewarded each year to the best college football lineman or linebacker. It has been given to an Ohio State player six times in its history, with Jim Stillwagon (1970), John Hicks (1973), Chris Spielman (1987), and A.J. Hawk (2005) all having won the award.

In addition to the Lombardi Award, both Hankins and Simon have been named to watch lists for the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy, with Hankins also being named to the Outland Trophy watch list. Stoneburner is also a member of the watch list for the Mackey Award.

Other Buckeyes to have been named to watch lists this offseason include quarterback Braxton Miller (Maxwell Award), kicker Drew Basil (Lou Groza Award), and safety C.J. Barnett (Thorpe Award).