Joe Jiannoni is up for the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker.
Aug. 29, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah linebacker Joe Jiannoni has been named to the watch list for the Butkus Award, while place kicker/punter Louie Sakoda has been added to the Lou Groza list. The Butkus Award honors the nation's top collegiate linebacker while the Lou Groza Award is given to the country's best place kicker.
Jiannoni, a 6-0, 235-pound senior, was a second-team all-conference selection a year ago, and is preparing to start at middle linebacker for a third year. He recorded 92 total tackles as a junior - which ranks second among the Mountain West Conference's returning linebackers. For his career, Jiannoni has 182 total tackles, including 12.5 for a loss.
Sakoda, also a Ray Guy Award nominee for best punter, was named the preseason Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Year after sharing the award last season as a sophomore. He was also named to the MWC's preseason first team as a place kicker. He made 16-of-20 field goal attempts in 2006, and was a perfect 43-for-43 in extra points.
The Butkus Award Watch List will be trimmed to 10 semi-finalists on Thursday, Oct. 18. That semi-finalist list will be cut down to three finalists and will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 9. The winner will be announced in December in Orlando, Fla.
The 20 semi-finalists for the Lou Groza Award are announced on Tuesday, Nov. 6, followed by the naming of the three finalists two weeks later on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The Ute football team kicks the season off this Thursday when they play at Oregon State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (PDT), and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Northwest and Fox Sports Utah.