Oklahoma State seniors Amen Ogbongbemiga and Malcolm Rodriguez were among 51 linebackers named Monday to the 2020 preseason watch list for the Butkus Award, which honors college football’s best linebacker.
Ogbongbemiga had a stellar 2019 season with 100 total tackles — including a team-high 15.5 tackles for loss — with five sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. The Calgary, Alberta native earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and was a finalist for the Cornish Trophy, given annually to the most outstanding Canadian in college football.
Rodriguez had 103 tackles (seven tackles for loss), 1.5 sacks, four quarterback hurries, three pass breakups and a forced fumble. The Wagoner, Oklahoma native also earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and was named the team defensive MVP.
Both Ogbongbemiga and Rodriguez announced on Twitter in June that they tested positive for COVID-19 despite not showing symptoms. The duo have recovered.
OSU is the only Big 12 school with more than one player on the watch list. Six other Big 12 programs had a player make the list: Baylor’s Terrel Bernard, Iowa State’s Mike Rose, Oklahoma’s DaShaun White, TCU’s Garret Wallow, Texas’ Joseph Ossai and Texas Tech’s Riko Jeffers.
The Cowboys have never had a Butkus Award winner.