CHICAGO – UTEP’s Tyrice Knight is one of 51 FBS linebackers recognized to the 39th annual Butkus Award Watch List as announced by the committee on Thursday.

The number of linebackers on the watch list, 51, is a nod to the storied “51” pro jersey worn by the award’s namesake, Dick Butkus, who was named by NFL Films as the greatest defensive player in football history. The Butkus Award recognizes the best linebackers in football.

Knight is coming off a 95-tackle season, while he’s amassed 197 over the last two years. The redshirt senior was named second team All-CUSA after recording 6.5 TFL, a sack, INT, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble return for a TD. The redshirt senior has started in 31 games at the linebacker position over the last three seasons.

Knight ranked tied 10th in CUSA in total tackles and ranked tied seventh in tackles per game (7.9) in 2022. He tallied a season-high 14 tackles with 2.0 tackles for loss at UNM. Knight scored his first career touchdown as he recovered a fumble and took it 13 yards to pay dirt, while tallying five tackles, a sack and TFL in a win at Charlotte (UTEP’s first ever win in the eastern time zone). Knight tallied seven stops in UTEP’s upset win over Boise State on national television. The Lakeland, Fla., product opened season with 11 tackles and 2.0 TFL’s against North Texas, while he added an interception in a win over rival NM State. He posted 12 stops at Rice on national television. Knight recorded 10 more versus Middle Tennessee.


Instituted in 1985, The Butkus Award® is one of the elite individual honors, originally given each year to one player in college football: the most impactful linebacker in the game. In 2008, The Butkus Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, took stewardship of the award to fully realize the original purpose of honoring athletic achievement and service to the community. Since that time, the award has honored the nation’s best high school, college, and professional linebackers. An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee conducts the selection process each year. The committee is comprised of 51 experts, including professional, college, and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists.