November 27, 2007

Dizon named Big 12's top defensive player

BOULDER, Colo. - Already named the 2007 Buffalo Heart Award winner and a finalist for the Butkus Award, Jordon Dizon received another prestigious honor on Tuesday. The senior linebacker was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, as voted on by the conference's head coaches.

"It means a lot," Dizon said of honor. "It shows that there is a little respect between me and them (the Big 12 head coaches). I played against a lot of these coaches for the last four years. So it's awesome for them to show that respect to me. I did what I have to do and I had great coaches behind me and a great d-line in front of me."

CU head coach Dan Hawkins has said more than once that he believes Dizon should win the Butkus Award. The other finalists are Dan Connor from Penn State and James Laurinaitis from Ohio State.

"Just his production, you look at what he has done and the schedule we have played," Hawkins said when asked why Dizon deserves to win the Butkus Award. "It's easy to say we all like our own guys, but we've had a lot of guys who have seen every football player in America come through here and it is pretty much a unanimous call by them that he is the best linebacker in the country."

The Butkus Award winner will be announced in December in Orlando, Florida.

Dizon ranks second in the nation and first in the Big 12 in tackles with 12.4 a game. His 160 total stops were 77 more than any other CU player this season.

Dizon was humble, as usual, when he chatted with media at Tuesday's press luncheon.

"Yeah, I got 160 something tackles but I missed about 20 or 30 tackles throughout the season so I could have had a 190 tackle season," he said. "So as far as my expectations go, I could have had a lot more success out there. I had a lot of mental errors in some games. So as far as that, I know everyone makes mistakes, but being a senior, being a leader out there you have to minimize those and I had mistakes. So as far as the success I did [have some] but I could have done a lot better."

Dizon will likely be a first day NFL draft pick. But instead of prepping for the professional level next spring, Dizon will remain enrolled in classes at CU.

"Classes are my main priority (over the NFL) and I'm not leaving here until I finish school," he explained. "My mom stresses that. Yeah, you might go to the NFL for a year or two but after that, what are you going to do? Are you going to come back to school and waste another year of your life and have to work for your degree? No, not me. I want my degree when I leave.

"That is why I came here, to get a degree. They brought me here to play football and I came here to get a degree and that is what is going to happen."

Dizon is on pace to earn his degree in Economics in May. "I have actually taken almost all of my credits for my degree, the rest I have are just electives so it shouldn't be that bad at all," he added.

Two other Buffs named first-team All-Big 12

Dizon, junior defensive tackle George Hypolite and senior cornerback Terrence Wheatley were all named first-team all-Big 12, as voted on by the conference's coaches. Hypolite ranked tied for second in the Big 12 with six and a half quarterback sacks. Wheatley ranked second in the conference with five interceptions and 13 pass break ups.

Senior offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus was the lone CU player named second-team All-Big 12. There were five Buffs named honorable mention all-conference: Senior tailback Hugh Charles, senior place kicker Kevin Eberhart, senior offensive lineman Edwin Harrison, junior defensive tackle Brandon Nicolas and Wheatley as a kick returner.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel was named the conference's Player of the Year, Kansas junior Marcus Herford was named the Special Teams Player of the Year, Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was named the Defensive Freshman of the Year, Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree and Missouri wide receiver Jeremy Maclin were named co-Offensive Freshmen of the Year and KU's Mark Mangino was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.

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