TUSCALOOSA, Ala., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Alabama junior Rolando McClain has won the 2009 Dick Butkus Award as the nation's top collegiate linebacker.
Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, for whom the award is named, presented McClain with the trophy Tuesday in a surprise visit to Tuscaloosa.
McClain paced the top-scoring defense in major college football with 101 tackles, including 12.5 for losses. The Crimson Tide defense is a central reason No. 1-rated Alabama is 13-0 and will play for the Bowl Championship Series title on Jan. 7 against Texas.
He is the first Alabama linebacker since Derrick Thomas in 1988 to win the Butkus Award. Thomas went on to a Pro Football Hall of Fame career with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Other finalists for the 2009 Butkus Award were Florida's Brandon Spikes, Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon, South Carolina's Eric Norwood and Sergio Kindle of Texas.
On Monday it was announced that McClain was voted the Jack Lambert Award by the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio. That honor is also given the country's top collegiate linebacker.