Fresno State senior Jeff Camilli on Tuesday was named to the preseason Butkus Award watch list, given annually to college football’s top linebacker.
Camilli is one of 51 players on the watch list, including four from the Mountain West Conference.
Former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith won the award last season.
Camilli was a consistent player for the Bulldogs last season. He started 11 games and finished with 76 tackles, along with two interceptions – tied for most in the conference by a linebacker. The inside linebacker from Shingle Springs recorded 10 or more tackles in four games, tying for the team lead in that category.
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As a sophomore, he played in 14 games and had 42 tackles – most by any non-starter on the team. Camilli has 122 tackles in his career, seven for a loss.
The Butkus Award semifinalists will be announced Oct. 31, finalists on Nov. 21, and the winner will be named Dec. 6.
Fresno State fall camp begins Aug. 5.
Bulldogs land 2017 commitment – Benjamin Davis High-Houston linebacker Bruce Bivens has committed to Fresno State.
Bivens is the third player to commit to the Bulldogs for the 2017 class, joining defensive back Cody Watson of Hollywood, Fla., and quarterback Mark Salazar of Rancho Benardo High in San Diego.
Per NCAA rules, college coaches are not allowed to comment on prospective student-athletes until a national letter of intent has been signed and validated. Signing day for high school football players is Feb. 1.
“I had a lot of interest, but coaches weren’t offering,” Bivens said. “They would all tell me the same thing, ‘Come to my camp we will offer you.’ I did that and I never heard from them again. I would go and show out, be the best linebacker out there, but all the schools say I can play, but they overlook me because of my height.
“Fresno didn’t. The coaches are so down to earth they told me what it was from the jump, so I took that and ran with it. I know I would fit perfect in their scheme and I know Fresno State is my best bet.”
Bivens, listed at 6-foot and 220 pounds, was a first-team all-district selection in 2015.
Academics, volunteer work gets Bulldog nationally recognized – Fresno State offensive lineman Jacob Vazquez has been nominated for the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, one of the most coveted off-the-field honors in college football.
The recognition is for players who’ve showcased an exceptional ability to balance athletics with academics, and donate time and energy helping others.
Vazquez, a senior who started seven games last season, is one of 165 nominees
Performing off-the-field and away from school work, Vazquez was a volunteer with the Wells Church Student Ministries Leader, the Read Across America campaign and with Valley Children’s Hospital.
He was named a team captain during the spring and earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business last May with a 4.0 GPA. Vazquez will enter the education-curriculum and instruction master’s program while playing his final season at Fresno State.
Vazquez was a finalist at the 2016 Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet competition and developed the 2015 winning marketing plan for the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) collegiate marking competition.
A 25-member roster will be announced in September with 12 players coming from the Football Bowl Subdivision, 12 from the lower division of football and an honorary head coach.