July 14, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Preseason All-American linebacker A.J. Johnson has been named to the preseason watch lists for the Butkus Award and the Rotary Lombardi Award. It is the third time he is on the Butkus list and second on the Lombardi.
The 30th annual Butkus Award® selection process honors the nation's best linebackers at the high school, collegiate and professional level. Each watch list contains 51 candidates, honoring the now-retired professional jersey number of Dick Butkus.
Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.
As a senior, Johnson has already been named to the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, Bednarik Award, Lott IMPACT Award and CFPA Linebacker of the Year Award. He is a consensus preseason All-American, earning recognition as a first and second teamer from various outlets.
Johnson returned to Tennessee for his senior season after another stellar campaign as a junior. A 2013 AP and Coaches All-SEC first-team selection, Johnson became the first Vol to record 100 tackles in back to back seasons since Earnest Fields did so in 1990-91 finishing his 2013 campaign with 106. Johnson also notched 8.5 tackles for a loss of 17 yards, tying a career high, while also recovering a fumble and breaking up three passes. Johnson notched five double-digit tackling efforts in 2013, bringing his career total to 18.
He currently sits in third place on the UT career assisted tackles list with 164. The Gainesville, Ga., native enters his final season on Rocky Top with 324 career tackles in 36 career games.