They are two of the leading tacklers on Ohio State's football team, and now they are recognized as two of the top linebackers in the entire country.
Junior Raekwon McMillan and sophomore Jerome Baker are two of 12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker. The Butkus Foundation of Chicago announced the news on Monday morning.
Through eight games, McMillan leads the No. 6 Buckeyes with 51 total tackles, just three more than Baker, a first-year starter. Safety Malik Hooker is second on the team with 50 total stops. Hooker was named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award last week.
A finalist for the 2015 Butkus Award, McMillan is the leader of a unit allowing 15.1 points per game through Ohio State's first eight contests. McMillan also has three pass break-ups, 2.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumble in 2016.
Baker stepped in for an injured Dante Booker Week 1 against Bowling Green and hasn't looked back, flying around the football and tallying 6.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He even returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown in Ohio State's 45-24 win at Oklahoma.
The Buckeyes are one of two programs with a pair of semifinalists for the award. Alabama is the other.
|JEROME BAKER||OHIO STATE||SO|
|RAEKWON MCMILLAN||OHIO STATE||JR|
Three finalists will be named Nov. 21, with the winner announced live on the College Football Awards Show Dec. 8 on ESPN.