Senior outside linebacker Trent Murphy today was named a semifinalist for the 2012 Collegiate Butkus Award, which annually honors the top linebackers in the nation at the professional, collegiate and high school levels.
"This Award is about honoring linebackers at all levels, and reminding them that they have a responsibility to serve as role models and to give back to society," said Dick Butkus, the legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker.
Murphy currently leads Stanford with 4.5 sacks and is tied for the team lead with 9.0 tackles for loss. He has 20 solo tackles this season, including eight of his nine TFL.
The long-levered 6-foot-6 outside linebacker has two pass breakups already this year, along with an interception at Washington that he returned 40 yards for a touchdown.
Murphy, along with fellow outside linebacker and fifth-year senior Chase Thomas, has anchored a Stanford linebacker corps and defensive front seven which ranks among the nation's best -- currently third in the country for tackles for loss (61) and tied for eighth in sacks (22). The Cardinal defense is fourth in the nation in rushing defense (77.0) and last week allowed Cal only three total rushing yards in the 115th Big Game.
The 12 semifinalists for the 2012 Collegiate Butkus Award will be narrowed to a group of finalists on Nov. 20. The winner will be announced by Dec. 4.
Cardinal freshman outside linebacker Noor Davis last year won the 2011 High School Butkus Award.
Thomas, meanwhile, was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week on Monday following Stanford's 21-3 victory over Cal in the 115th Big Game on Saturday. The honor is the second of his career (Nov. 29, 2010) and the fourth Pac-12 Player of the Week recognition for a Stanford player this season.
Thomas led an historic Stanford defensive performance that held the Pac-12's No. 3 rushing offense to three yards rushing, the fewest allowed by a Stanford defense since 2003 (vs. BYU, minus-five) and tied for the seventh best in school history. Cal entered the game averaging 5.0 yards/carry, and the Thomas-led Cardinal defense held the Bears to 3.9 inches/carry.
Thomas had 3.0 tackles for loss in the game, along with a seven-yard sack, a forced fumble and another fumble recovery. Stanford's dominating defense recorded 11 tackles for loss, four sacks and allowed only three points, the lowest since the 2011 season opener versus San Jose State and fewest in a Big Game since 1998.
Murphy, Thomas and No. 19 Stanford next hosts Washington State on Saturday in a Pac-12 North contest at 3:15 p.m., with a national broadcast on Pac-12 Networks.
After that, only one regular-season home game will remain for the Cardinal Nov. 10 versus Oregon State. Tickets may be purchased online at GoStanford.com, at the Stanford Stadium ticket office or by calling 800-STANFORD.