Friday, March 1, 2024

W&M Football’s John Pius Selected to Butkus Award Watch List

(Tribe Athletics)

WILLIAMSBURG — Having established himself as one of the nation’s elite linebackers, William & Mary standout John Pius was selected to the 2023 Butkus Award Watch List. Pius is the lone Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) player on the watch list, which honors the nation’s top collegiate linebackers.  

Chosen as an All-American by seven organizations last year, Pius was voted as the runner up for the 2022 Stats Perform Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the national defensive player of the year in the FCS. Additionally, he was selected as the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year and the Virginia Defensive Player of the Year by VaSID.

En route to garnering the accolades, Pius ranked fourth nationally in sacks (11.5) and fifth in TFL (19). A two-time CAA Defensive Player of the Week, the Arlington, Va., native led W&M in tackles (72) and quarterback hurries (12).  

Pius becomes the second W&M player to garner the prestigious honor, as Luke Rhodes earned the distinction as a senior in 2015. Rhodes is currently entering his eighth season in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and is a two-time All-Pro selection as a long snapper.  

The Butkus Award Watch List features 51 candidates from 44 universities. The complete watch list is available below. 

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. 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.  

Ranked fourth nationally in multiple preseason polls, W&M is coming off a historic 2022 campaign in which it equaled a school record with 11 victories, advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals and won a share of the CAA title.

Led by 2022 Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Finalist Mike London, the Tribe returns a host of talent on both sides of the ball this fall as it looks to defend its CAA title and make a return to the NCAA Playoffs. Tickets are on sale and available at

The Tribe will open its 2023 slate at Campbell on Thursday, Aug. 31, while its home opener at Zable Stadium against Wofford will be the following weekend (Sept. 9).

2023 Butkus Award Watch List 

Jaishawn Barham, Maryland
Michael Barrett, Michigan
JD Bertrand, Notre Dame
Tatum Bethune, Florida State
Ben Bywater, BYU
Abdul Carter, Penn State
Barrett Carter, Clemson
Aaron Casey, Indiana
Steele Chambers, Ohio State
Mason Cobb, USC
Khari Coleman, Ole Miss
Junior Colson, Michigan
Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M
Shaun Dolac, Buffalo
Jamon Dumas-Johnson (F), Georgia
Tommy Eichenberg (SF), Ohio State
JaQues Evans, WKU
Justin Flowe, Arizona
Jaylan Ford, Texas
Dallas Gant, Toledo
Easton Gibbs, Wyoming
Cedric Gray, North Carolina
Cal Haladay, Michigan State
Jason Henderson, Old Dominion
Ty’Ron Hopper, Missouri
Nick Jackson, Iowa
Curtis Jacobs, Penn State
Jestin Jacobs, Oregon
Jason Johnson, UCF
Tyrice Knight, UTEP
Deontae Lawson, Alabama
Marist Liufau, Notre Dame
Jordan Magee, Temple
Jackson Mitchell (SF), UConn
Smael Mondon Jr., Georgia
Darius Muasau, UCLA
Maema Njongmeta, Wisconsin
Chris Paul Jr., Arkansas
Harold Perkins Jr., LSU
John Pius, William & Mary
Tyreem Powell, Rutgers
Karene Reid, Utah
DJ Schramm, Boise State
Jackson Sirmon, Cal
Omar Speights, LSU
Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma
Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson
Trevin Wallace, Kentucky
Nathaniel Watson, Mississippi State
Marlowe Wax, Syracuse
Payton Wilson, N.C. State

Related Articles