The Butkus Award released its 2020 watch list for the nation’s top linebacker on Monday. Oklahoma’s DaShaun White became the tenth Sooner to be honored with a preseason accolade, but being named to the Butkus watch list also indicated a changing of the guard for the Sooners.
White logged 52 total tackles for the Sooners in 2019. That was enough place the junior, from North Richland Hills, Texas, fourth on the team in total tackles. If he wasn’t already so, his career-high nine tackles against Iowa State made him a household name within the Sooner Nation. However, nationally the name synonymous with Oklahoma’s defense was Kenneth Murray.
Presenting Oklahoma with the best opportunity to have a Butkus Award winner since Teddy Lehman in 2003, Murray steamrolled opposing offenses to the tune of 102 total tackles with 17 coming for loss. Playing with the perfect mix of speed and violence, Murray became the face of Alex Grinch’s new Speed Defense and DaShaun White was just along for the ride.
That’ll all change in 2020 though. Kenneth Murray is off to the NFL and now its DeShaun White who is on the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award. It’ll be #23 that opposing offensive coordinators will try to avoid as opposed to #9.
He’s more than ready for the part though. He has the pedigree being a former 4-star recruit. Standing at 6-0/223 he’s got the frame, power, and speed to wreak havoc across the field. He also has the advantage of playing in Murray’s for two years. He used that time to watch, learn, and develop. Now it’ll be his shadow that covers Oklahoma’s defense this fall.
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