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Posted: Sunday December 4, 2011 5:11PM ; Updated: Sunday December 4, 2011 6:28PM

Boston College LB Kuechly wins Butkus award

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NEEDHAM, Mass. (AP) -- Luke Kuechly of Boston College won the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college football.

Butkus, the former star linebacker with the Chicago Bears, presented the award to Kuechly at the Eagles' end-of-year banquet.

"I used to watch so much football growing up and when they'd talk about great players they would always talk about Dick Butkus," Kuechly said. "Just being mentioned along with those (past winners) and winning an award named after a guy like Dick Butkus is great. I'm excited about it. It's really a great honor."

Von Miller of Texas A&M, now with the Denver Broncos, won last year with Kuechly finishing second..

"A lot of people said I got snubbed last year because Von Miller won it, but I don't think I got gypped at all," Kuechly said. "Look at him now. He's the No. 2 draft pick and he's killing it right now in the NFL.

Before Butkus presented the award, BC coach Frank Spaziani praised him and Kuechly.

"As a kid, I idolized Dick Butkus. He was the ideal linebacker," Spaziani told Kuechly and the crowd. "You're the closest thing to Dick Butkus that I've seen."

Kuechly, a junior from Cincinnati, leads the nation this season with 191 tackles. He also had three interceptions. His 532 career tackles are records for the Atlantic Coast Conference and BC, which finished its season at 4-8.

"I like his speed. He's an intelligent player and he's a good guy," Butkus said. "That's what I say on the trophy - you've got to be in the tradition of giving back, too. Everyone seems to be all for themselves these days. And I think we made another great choice."

Kuechly was chosen by a committee of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists.

He received 58 points and 18 first-place votes. He was followed by Alabama teammates Dont'a Hightower (33 points and 5 first-place votes) and Courtney Upshaw (23 and 3), Manti Te'o of Notre Dame (20 and 1), Lavonte David of Nebraska (16 and 1), and Jarvis Jones of Georgia (14 and 1).

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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