Lovejoy alum and current Ole Miss Rebel DeMarquis Gates named to Butkis Award preseason watch list from Staff Reports

LOVEJOY — Lovejoy alum and current Ole Miss Rebel DeMarquis Gates has been named to the preseason watch list for the Butkis Award heading into the 2017 college football season.

The Butkis Award, which is named after legendary linebacker Dick Butkis, is given to the best linebacker in college football. Only 51 players in the NCAA, selected by a panel of coaches, talent evaluators and media members, were named to the watch list.

Gates has led Ole Miss in tackles in each of the last two seasons, totalling 79 in 2016 and 76 in 2015. He ranked 10th among Southeastern Conference players with 7.2 tackles per game last season. He was named Preseason All-SEC Fourth Team by Phil Steele heading into the 2017 campaign.

At Lovejoy, Gates was a 4-star recruit. He missed his senior season with a torn ACL, but recorded 132 tackles as a junior. He was a part of Lovejoy’s back-to-back state finalist teams in 2011 and 2012.

Past winners of the award include current Denver Bronco Von Miller, current Carolina Panther Luke Kuechly and former San Francisco 49er and Ole Miss Rebel Patrick Willis.

Semifinalists will be named Oct. 30, finalists Nov. 20 and winners will be notified by Dec. 5.