Roquan Smith has been a busy man lately.
On Monday night, he will be in Charlotte, North Carolina to find out if he will win the Bronko Nagurski Award, which goes out to the nation's top defensive player. Smith will be in Atlanta Thursday when the Chuck Bednarik Award is revealed at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show.
All of this comes as students at UGA are wrapping up finals, and shortly after Georgia's SEC Championship win over Auburn. Therefore, during Georgia's annual gala Sunday evening, the program had a surprise for Smith.
Longtime broadcaster and UGA sideline reporter Chuck Dowdle introduced NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus on a large video board to present Smith with the 33rd annual Butkus Award. This honor goes to the nation's top linebacker. Smith won the award over Michigan’s Devin Bush, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Wisconsin’s T.J. Edwards and Clemson’s Dorian O’Daniel.
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Butkus' son, Matt Butkus, then made an appearance to give Smith the Butkus Award trophy in person. In Dowdle's introductory speech, he noted, "Wouldn't it be great if some award could come to you?"
In a surprise presentation at tonight's Senior Awards Gala, Roquan Smith was awarded the 2017 Butkus Award, recognizing him as the nation's top linebacker. Congratulations, Roquan!#GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/CgXpBDt5nd— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) December 4, 2017
Smith is coming off of an impressive performance against Auburn in the SEC Championship as he totaled 13 tackles, a sack and two fumble recoveries. Smith was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
Smith has totaled 113 total tackles and 5.5 sacks.
"Roquan Smith proved to be the overwhelming favorite in this year's collegiate linebacking class,” according to the award selection committee. “He's always around the ball and is very tough, fast and instinctive, with exceptional football reflexes. He makes his presence felt all over the field and hits with the type of explosion that has come to define the Butkus Award. As terrific of a football player as he is, Roquan is highly regarded by teammates, coaches and support staff for his intelligence, intensity and leadership traits.”
Smith is the first-ever player from Georgia to win the Butkus Award. Leonard Floyd (2015), Jarvis Jones (2011, 2012) and Justin Houston (2010) were up for the honor as finalists but never received it.