Ohio State is the only team in the country with three linebackers on the watch list for this year's Butkus Award.
Tuf Borland, Baron Browning and Pete Werner were all among the 51 linebackers named Monday to the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award, which honors college football's best linebacker.
Borland, who is set to become just the second three-time captain in Ohio State history, has started more games (34) than any other player on the Buckeyes’ roster and has 180 career tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss manning the middle linebacker spot in OSU's defense.
Werner, who is also a third-year starter for the Buckeyes, proved to be one of Ohio State's most versatile players last year – lining up at both Sam linebacker and safety – and ranked second on the team with 64 tackles in 2019. He has 131 total tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss for his Ohio State career.
Browning, who is also a senior, has started just four games for the Buckeyes but has been a regular in the rotation for the last two seasons and emerged as one of their top defensive playmakers in 2019, recording 43 tackles with 10 tackles for loss and five sacks. He's the frontrunner to replace Malik Harrison and join Borland and Werner in the starting lineup at linebacker, though it's still uncertain exactly what his role when the Buckeyes return to game action.
Ohio State has two previous winners of the Butkus Award: Andy Katzenmoyer in 1997 and James Laurinaitis in 2007.