Memphis Tigers Linebacker Genard Avery Named To Butkus Award Watch List

   CHICAGO, Ill. – For the second time in four days, University of Memphis’ Genard Avery has been named to a 2017 preseason watch list. The Tigers senior linebacker was one of 51 players from across the nation to be selected to the Butkus Award watch list, the Butkus Foundation announced Monday.

     The Butkus Award, first awarded in 1985, annually honors college football’s top linebacker. Avery is one of three players from the American Athletic Conference on the prestigious preseason watch list, joining UCF’s Shaquem Griffin and Navy’s D.J. Palmore.

     Last Thursday (July 13), Avery’s name appeared on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list.

     In 2016, Avery was an All-American Athletic Conference first team honoree after leading Memphis in TFL (11-59 yards), sacks (5), and quarterback hurries (6). He was second on the squad with 81 total tackles (63 solo/18 assists) and recorded five or more total hits in 11 of 13 games last season. Avery had a season-high nine total hits twice in contests versus Ole Miss and Temple.

      The Grenada, Miss., native also tied for team-high honors with two interceptions, one each in home wins over Bowling Green and Temple. He returned both picks for touchdowns. Avery’s interception return for a score late in the third quarter versus Temple gave the Tigers their first lead of game and turned the game’s momentum to the home team.

     In addition to his all-league honor, Avery was named the team’s John Bramlett Defensive Player of the Year following the 2016 season.

     Avery enters the 2017 campaign with 152 total tackles (118 solo/34 assists). For his career, he also had 23.5 TFL and 13 sacks.


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