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Trio of Georgia Bulldog football players named to national watch lists

Photo by John Millikan

Photo by John Millikan

ATHENS -- Georgia seniors Drew Butler and Blair Walsh and junior receiver Tavarres King are the latest Bulldogs to receive national recognition.

King has been named to the Fred Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List, according to an announcement made by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club.

King is among 12 players from the SEC on the 75-man list. Former Bulldog A.J. Green, who was the fourth overall pick in this year's NFL Draft, was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award in 2010.

The Biletnikoff Award is given annually to the nation's most outstanding college football receiver. The 2011 Biletnikoff winner will be presented live at the Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on December 8, 2011 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

King, a native of Mount Airy, Ga., is Georgia's leading receiver who returns to the 2011 lineup after hauling in 27 catches for 504 yards and three touchdowns last season. He had a season-high 104 yards receiving against Florida in 2010, including a 63-yard touchdown catch.

A preseason All-SEC Second Team pick, King has started 14 of the last 24 games for the Bulldogs and is only 53 yards shy of recording 1,000 yards receiving in his career.

Walsh, a senior place-kicker, has been named to the Lou Groza Award Watch List while senior punter Butler has been included on the Ray Guy Award Watch List.

Walsh was a finalist in 2009 and a semifinalist in 2010 for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the nation's most outstanding place-kicker. Butler won the 2009 Ray Guy Award, which is given to the country's top punter, and was a finalist for the 2010 honor.

Butler is one of only five names (all 2010 semifinalists) on the Ray Guy Watch List currently and the only one from the SEC. The number of eligible candidates for this season will grow when the award opens for nominations in mid-August and the complete list of candidates will be released on Oct. 28. Ten semifinalists will be revealed on Nov. 11 before the three finalists are selected and announced on Nov. 21.

The Groza Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Oct. 28. Three finalists for the award will then by announced on Nov. 21 following the decision from a panel of more than 300 experts.

The 2011 Lou Groza Award and Ray Guy Award will be presented live at the Home Depot ESPN College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on December 8, 2011 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

A native of Boca Raton, Fla., Walsh has already been named to Phil Steele and Lindy's Preseason All-America First Team. The winner of the 2009 College Football Performance Awards Place-Kicker Trophy ranks fourth in UGA history with 303 point scored and has eight field goals over 50 yards in his career.

Walsh has been named to UGA's Team of the Decade following three years as the Bulldogs' kicker. He has the highest field goal percentage for any active kicker in the SEC (81 percent) and has drilled 138 of 139 PATs, including his first 119 in a row.

A native of Duluth, Butler became only the seventh Bulldog in school history to be named an All-American both athletically and academically after being named a 2010 ESPN Academic All-American. He is on pace to become the career leader at UGA for punting average with a 46.1 mark through three seasons.

In 2010, Butler averaged 44.5 yards on 50 punts, 15 that went for 50-plus. The son of former NFL standout and Bulldog All-American Kevin Butler, he helped put the Bulldogs at second in the SEC and fourth in the nation in net punting with an average of 40.6 last year.