NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt junior linebacker Anfernee Orji was named to the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award given annually to the top linebacker in the nation.
It is the first career selection for Orji on the Butkus Award watch list and his second watch list pick this year joining the Chuck Bednarik Award. Also this summer Orji was named to Phil Steele’s Preseason All-SEC fourth team.
Orji returns to the Commodores after starting all nine games in 2020 and totaling a team-high 66 tackles. His average of 7.3 tackles/game ranked 16th in the SEC.
In 18 career games (nine starts), the Rockwall, Texas, native has tallied 72 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack, three pass breakups, one caused fumble and one quarterback pressure.
In his career, Orji has carded nine or more tackles three times with a career-high 13 in the 2020 home finale against Tennessee, marking the most for a Commodore last season. Orji recorded his first career forced fumble at Kentucky and registered nine stops apiece against No. 6/5 Florida and Mississippi State.
The Commodores are set to kick off the 2021 season by hosting East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. on Sept. 4. Season tickets, mini plans and single-game tickets are available through the Vanderbilt ticket office.
Vanderbilt Stadium is expected to operate at 100 percent capacity for the 2021 campaign. Following revised CDC recommendations indicating that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or physically distance, Vanderbilt updated many of its protocols effective May 25, including that gathering size limits will be lifted for outdoor gatherings.
Vanderbilt will continue to monitor public health guidance and rely on experts, including the CDC, Nashville Metro Public Health, and leaders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the School of Nursing.
Vanderbilt Student-Athletes on 2021 NCFAA Watch Lists
Bednarik Award: Anfernee Orji
Doak Walker Award: Re’Mahn Davis
Butkus Award: Anfernee Orji