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December 9, 2009

Jordan Hicks wins high school Butkus Award

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CINCINNATI, Ohio - The second-ever Butkus Award® for high school linebackers was awarded today to Jordan Hicks, a senior at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. The Award was presented in-person during a surprise visit to the high school by its namesake, Pro Football Hall of Fame legend Dick Butkus and his son Matt.

Hicks, a 6'2", 220 lb. senior at Lakota West High School, is considered one of the top football players in Ohio at any position and is weighing offers from numerous elite Division One collegiate programs. He finished his senior season with 95 tackles in 10 games, which included 65 solo tackles and 13 for a loss of yards. Hicks led the Lakota West defense that allowed just 8 points a game during its 9-2 season. He also is a four-time basketball letter winner.

"Perhaps the best part of my job in coordinating the selection process for the Butkus Awards is learning about all the incredible young men at the high school level," said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly, who coordinates the 51-person selection committee of professional, collegiate and high school football experts.

"My hat is off in particular to Jordan Hicks for becoming the 2009 Butkus Award winner, for all that he's already accomplished both on and off the field during his high school football career, and all that we can see is yet to come. Hicks topped a strong lineup of nominees and finalists including; Khairi Fortt of Connecticut, Jeff Luc of Florida, Dakota Royer of Pennsylvania, and Hayes Pullard of California."

Beyond the gridiron, Hicks is a member of the J. Kyle Braid leadership group at Lakota West, an anti-drug, alcohol and tobacco group. He volunteers for the school's junior basketball program and has spent Thanksgiving holidays volunteering with his family at homeless shelter. He carries a 3.4 weighted grade point average and scored a 25 on his ACT exam.

Hicks is just the second person ever to receive a high school Butkus Award®, following Manti Te'o from Punahou High School in Hawaii, who started for Notre Dame as a true freshman linebacker this fall. The Butkus family received all rights to the Butkus Award in 2008 and expanded its reach to include high school and professional ranks in addition to its 25-year history honoring the top linebacker in college football.

Hicks joins Rolando McClain, a junior linebacker at Alabama, as a fellow Butkus Award winner for 2009. A professional honoree will be announced in January 2010. A reception honoring all three winners is expected in late February 2010, and a Butkus Award television program will air on Fox Sports Net and TUFF TV. Details will be posted at www.thebutkusaward.com

The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel comprised mostly of scouts, coaches and journalists, and coordinated by Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly. Selectors follow all rules of their leagues. Individual votes remain completely confidential.

The Butkus Award is named after Dick Butkus, who is considered one of the greatest football players in history. Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School. Butkus and his son Matt want the Butkus Award to draw attention to the I Play CleanTM campaign, which aims to end steroid use in organized sports. More information is available at www.iplayclean.org

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