Where are they now?: Darius Butler
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 00:02
The 2009 NFL Draft saw an array of talented former Huskies take the next steps in their football careers as all four players who declared for the draft were selected within the first two rounds.
For those who still remember that class quite vividly, it would’ve been very easy to mention Donald Brown as arguably the best player out of the group. However, the Huskies would not have had their success around those years without one of the team leaders on defense: Darius Butler.
Born on March 18, 1986 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Butler is one of Mitchell and Sabrina Butler’s eight children. Butler attended Coral Springs Charter School in Coral Springs, Fla. There, he played both quarterback and safety before signing with UConn in his senior year.
After redshirting his first year in 2004, Butler became a regular starter for the Huskies and had a breakout season the next year. He started in all 11 games at the cornerback position and also frequently served as the kickoff returner. On the defensive side, Butler compiled 36 tackles, eight deflections, four interceptions and one forced fumble on the season. As a returner, Butler returned 140 yards, including one for a score.
His efforts earned him both the Big East Defensive and Special Team Player of the Week honors that season.
Butler continued his success the next year as he piled on 50 more tackles and four more interceptions to his career numbers with the Huskies before being named as a team captain by then-coach Randy Edsall in 2007.
In the next two seasons as a team captain, Butler helped to lead UConn to back-to-back bowl appearances. The Huskies dropped the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl to Wake Forest, 10-24, but were able to defeat Buffalo the next year, 38-20, in the International Bowl.
Butler ended his collegiate career in 2008 with 180 total tackles, 10 interceptions and three forced fumbles, while being named as a member of the All-Big East first team.
In the 2009 draft, the New England Patriots used their 41st pick to select Butler. and agreed to a four-year, $2.1 million contract.
However, he was waived by the Patriots just prior the start of the 2011 season. In his two years there, Butler played in 29 games and tallied 58 combined tackles with three interceptions (the three takeaways all came in his rookie year).
Butler spent a season with the Carolina Panthers after that but was waived once again before signing with the Indianapolis Colts as in 2012.
Butler has enjoyed some success with the Colts in the past season. In the 11 games he’s played, Butler had recorded 31 combined tackles with four interceptions and one forced fumble. He was also named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in week 10 after he made two interceptions and recovered a fumble against the Jacksonville Jaguars.