Award voters across the country are recognizing the talent on this year’s Texas football squad yet again as two more Longhorns had their name etched on award watch lists for the 2018 season on Monday morning, according to a Texas Athletics press release.
Senior linebacker Gary Johnson was named to the Butkus Award watch list for college football’s best linebacker while senior cornerback Kris Boyd found his name on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list for college football’s top defensive back.
The Texas program is very familiar with the Jim Thorpe Award, after two Longhorns — safety Michael Huff (2005), cornerback Aaron Ross (2006) — both claimed the award in back-to-back seasons.
Three other Longhorns have been named finalists for the award, cornerback Quentin Jammer, safety Earl Thomas and most recently safety DeShon Elliott, who was named a finalist for the award last season.
Boyd showed glimpses of being an elite cornerback for the Longhorns toward the end of the 2017 season. Boyd was tied for the most plays on the ball last year in the Big 12 with 13, and rated out as the top defensive player in the country for week 13, according to Pro Football Focus.
As for Johnson, this is the second preseason award watch list he has been named to, with the Bednarik Award being the first.
The award for nation’s best linebacker is voted on by the Butkus Award Selection Committee, which is comprised of 51 experts, scouts and journalists.
With a special season, Johnson could become the first Longhorn to win the award since Derrick Johnson in 2004. Former Longhorn Sergio Kindle was named a finalist for the award in 2009.
The junior college transfer played in 10 games last season, racking up 57 total tackles and 6.0 sacks. There is reason to expect his numbers to skyrocket this season as the main linebacker in Todd Orlando’s defense this season.