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UW Cowboy Gibbs named to Butkus Award preseason watch list

Aug. 27, 2022; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Wyoming Cowboys linebacker Easton Gibbs (28) against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. (Troy Babbitt, UW Media-Athletics)

LARAMIE, Wyo. — Preseason recognitions are continuing to roll in for Wyoming Cowboy Easton Gibbs as the season draws nearer. Recently, the rising junior was named to the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award, given each season to the nation’s top linebacker.

Gibbs was one of 51 Division 1 athletes from across the nation named to the watch list.

The Cowboy linebacker was selected as the 2023 Mountain West Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in voting by conference media at Mountain West media days in July. He has also been named a Preseason First Team All-Mountain West selection by MW media, Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.


As a sophomore in 2022, Gibbs was named First Team All-Mountain West, after finishing the season with the third-most tackles in the conference and ranking 22nd nationally. He averaged 9.3 tackles per game. He ultimately finished the season with 121 total tackles.

Gibbs’ 121 tackles tied him with former UW linebackers Bruce Mowry and Jim Talich for the 18th best single-season tackle total in school history. Gibbs posted double figures in tackles in six games during the 2022 season.

Gibbs is the third Wyoming linebacker to be named to the Butkus Award Watch List in the last four years. Casper native and former UW Cowboy Logan Wilson was named to the Butkus Award watch list in 2019, and went on to be one of six finalists for the award. Former UW standout and current Jacksonville Jaguar Chad Muma was selected to the watch list in 2021 and, like Wilson, went on to be named one of the finalists for the award.


“I am always excited about seeing our great watch list players on the field,” football legend Dick Butkus, for whom the award is named, said. “When an outstanding 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 this recognition brings a responsibility of giving back.”