July 17, 2017
A fifth Michigan football player has landed on a preseason watch list.
Mike McCray, the senior linebacker from Ohio, is one of 51 to have his name included in the Butkus Award watch list released Monday.
The Butkus Award is handed out to every year to the nation’s best linebackers at the high school, college and professional levels.
Alabama’s Reuben Foster — a first-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers — won the award last year.
The 6-foot-4, 248-pound McCray started at linebacker in all 13 games for Michigan in 2016. He recorded 76 tackles, 12 1/2 for a loss, had 4 1/2 sacks and two interceptions, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.
Most notably, McCray had four tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown in Michigan’s Orange Bowl loss to Florida State.
He will be the only returning starter on defense for the Wolverines, who have defensive end Rashan Gary and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst both on two separate watch lists.
Eight other Big Ten linebackers join McCray on the Butkus Award watch list, named after former Chicago Bears linebacker and football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.