The more I read about Deon Butler, the more I find myself liking the guy. He appears to have the full package, and is a true description of a Tim Ruskell draft choice: outstanding college career, durability, success against top competition, demonstrated leadership both on and off the field, maturity, character, and potential.
Those characteristics don’t always translate into success in the National Football League, and Butler will face a lot of challenges at the next level as an undersized receiver. At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, he’ll have to rely on speed and quickness to find an advantage over opposing defenders.
Fans of Penn State will tell you that Butler won’t have any problems adjusting and overcoming those obstacles.
I reached out for an extra perspective on Deon Butler from Happy Valley, in addition to the previous opinion offered by Bill Kline (Nittany Lines).
This time, the perspective comes from lifelong Penn State football fan Maddy, who is better known as “PSUgirl” to her readers. She writes a blog about Penn State football, and has her own web site dedicated to the program. Deon Butler is one of her “all-time favorites” and offering her opinion of the newest receiver in Seattle wasn’t a problem. From Maddy:
We Penn Staters have a special place in our “football hearts” for the Class of ’09 – these kids came into the Penn State system when we were very down (the dark years, as many of us call them) – they took a “chance” on Penn State when they were recruited and Coach Paterno took a chance on them in the Fall of 2005. Deon was a little different from his fellow freshmen that year. He was a walkon and he had redshirted his freshman season (2004); Deon saw the Lions at their lowest, and it didn’t scare or demoralize him – in fact it energized him to make a difference.
As you know, Deon came to PSU as a D-back, and they switched him over to wide receiver. Along with Jordan Norwood and Derrick Williams, he became a reliable target for the Penn State quarterbacks and a nightmare for opposing teams’ defensive coaches. What, in my opinion, separated Deon from his classmates was his D-back training/experience. Even when we fielded some less than stellar passers, I (and anyone in near me in the stands) knew that a ball thrown to Deon was either going to be a reception or an incomplete pass – because there was no way (as long as he was anywhere in the area) that a defender was going to get an interception off of our Deon. His sure hands, speed, intelligence, determination and instinct have made him leader among his peers and an asset to his coaches (and a joy to watch for fans!). He (as will the rest of his class) will be missed.
Off the field he was/is just as much of a leader. He has acted as PSU’s media envoy for countless interviews and appearances. He is poised in front of cameras and reporters and he is motivating when in front of him teammates.
My personal stadium cheer for the last 4 years has been “Throw the ball to Butler!” Bittersweetly, I pass it on to you and your fellow Seahawk fans – I hope you use it and that it serves you as well as it has Nittany Nation.
We’ve had some pretty good luck with Penn State receivers, and I don’t think Butler will be any different. I’m looking forward to watching him contribute this fall and develop into a good player in the future. If Maddy’s opinion is accurate, then we’re getting one hell of a player in Seattle.