Jaishawn Barham selected to Butkus Award Watchlist

Another day, another Terp making a preseason watch list. This time? Second-year linebacker Jaishawn Barham.

Barham was named to the Butkus Award Preseason Watch List on Thursday as he prepares to build off an impressive fresh campaign.

Barham becomes the first Terp selected to the preseason watch list since Jermaine Carter did so back in 2017.

Despite a pair of veterans in the room, Barham stepped into a starting role week one last fall before leading all Big Ten freshmen with 58 tackles in all 12 games he started. Barham also led the team with 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks before being named a FWAA Freshman All-American. Barham was also named Big Ten Freshmen of the Week following the Purdue game and was chosen as a Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award Semifinalist.

“With Jaishawn, as long as he works like he works — because he’s a great worker, he’s a very intelligent football player — I put him on the field, let him do his thing,” inside linebackers coach Lance Thompson said prior to spring ball.

Barham leads a deep linebacker room into the fall with Ruben Hyppolite, Fa’Najae Gotay, Caleb Wheatland, Gereme Spraggins, Kellan Wyatt and Donnell Brown rounding out the “strength of our defense.”

“All those guys have played meaningful snaps and done a really good job,” defensive coordinator Brian Williams said about the unit. “And it helps. It helps for them to be able to again come back and play the same system. They’re more confident and recognizing formations and you know, they’re the quarterback of the defense. So they have to get us lined up. They have to make sure guys are doing the things they need to do pre-snap and they do that in front of them as well as behind you know, because they see it the most and they’re the guys we lean on for that.”

Via release:

The award semifinalists are expected to be named Oct. 30 with finalists to follow Nov. 20. The winner will be named on or before Dec. 6. Appearing on the watch list is not a requirement to win the award.

All 2023 Butkus Award winners will be honored at a televised event in Jan. 2024. BTN (the Big Ten Network) aired the event last season, featuring Butkus and numerous noted NFL Alumni. To watch the show online via YouTube, click here.

Founded in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include the Butkus Takes HeartTM initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs.

A 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts, and journalists guides the selection process. Past winners of the collegiate award include such greats as Patrick Willis, Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, Devin White, Roquan Smith and many more. The Butkus Award is increasingly focused on recognizing linebackers who consistently play off the ball on their feet in a two-point stance in traditional form.

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