MO State HS Sports

Hopper Named Butkus Award Finalist

Hopper - 2023 at Georgia

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Butkus Foundation named University of Missouri linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper as one of five finalists for the 2023 Butkus Award®.

The senior from Shelby, North Carolina is joined by Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson), Edefuan Ulofoshio (Washington), Nathaniel Watson (Mississippi State) and Payton Wilson (NC State) on the finalist list.

“The five finalists embody the toughness, grit, football temperament and play making ability that the Butkus Award seeks to recognize. It’s my honor to present our finalists, on behalf of my dad, as chosen by our selection committee,” Matt Butkus said. “There are many very deserving candidates. These linebackers represent the most exceptional and have very bright futures ahead.”

Hopper is the third Mizzou player to earn finalist honors for the Butkus Award along with Nick Bolton (2020) and  Sean Weatherspoon (2008, 2009).

Hopper has created havoc on the field all season long, leading the MU defense with 55 tackles, six for a loss. He also has 3.0 sacks, six QB hurries and three pass break ups.

He was the Senior Bowl Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 18, 2023, and had a season-best 10 tackles and a sack in the Tigers’ most recent game at No. 1 Georgia. 

The 2023 Butkus Award winners will be honored at a gala event on Jan. 27, 2024, at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The event will honor the legacy of namesake Dick Butkus and be supported by numerous noted NFL Alumni. 

The No. 9 Tigers close out the regular season with the annual Battle Line Rivalry on Friday, Nov. 24, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Game time at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium will be 3:00 p.m. CT and the game will be televised on CBS and air on Tiger Radio Network.

For all the latest information on Mizzou Athletics, please visit For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Missouri football (@MizzouFootball) and Coach Drinkwitz (@CoachDrinkwitz) on X. You can also find the Tigers on Instagram and Facebook.

The Butkus Award inscription reads: “When a player receives the Butkus Award he will know two things. First, he is recognized as the best of the best linebackers in America. Second, and in the long run most important, he will understand that this recognition brings a responsibility to serve others by giving back. – Dick Butkus.”

Founded in 1985, the Butkus Award honors linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. Causes include Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults, and the I Play Clean® initiative encouraging athletes to train naturally without performance-enhancing drugs. A 51-member expert panel of coaches, scouts and journalists guides the selection process. The Butkus Foundation has presented the high school and professional awards since 2008. The collegiate award is now in its 39th season.

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics