Sports

2011 Bednarik Award Rundown: Mathieu, Ingram, Hightower and More

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The Bednarik Award is presented by the Maxwell Football Club and given to the College Defensive Player of the Year. Like the Maxwell Award honoring the nation’s top college player, the Bednarik Award is voted on by sportscasters, sportswriters, NCAA head coaches, athletic administrators and also the membership of the Maxwell Football Club.

You can vote for the Maxwell Award, the Bednarik Award, the new NFL Fantasy Player of the Year Award, and other prominent awards presented by the oldest football club in America by obtaining a RotoExperts Maxwell Football Club membership.

All to often the skill position players on the offensive side of the ball get the notoriety and fame. More often than not however, games are won are won and lost on defense. Taking a look at the standout defenders in NCAA Football, here’s how the landscape for the College Defensive Player of the Year shakes out after six weeks of play.

1 – Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU Tigers: He’s everywhere and he does everything. If he keeps this up, he’ll be in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation. - Danny Hobrock

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2 – Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina Gamecocks: Ingram is an athletic end who began his football career as a linebacker. In pass coverage he can move inside, which has made him a dangerous linemen against opposing quarterbacks. Ingram has 17 solo tackles (27 TT), 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, two pass break ups, and three hurries. Through six games, he has scored three touchdowns – two on fumble returns and one as a running back, rushing 68 yards for the score. Ingram is producing more and more as the season continues and is a major contributor to South Carolina’s defensive success. - Dory LeBlanc

3 – Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Te’o played Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle and still managed 10 tackles. On the year he has four sacks and 59 tackles, leading the team in both categories. He’s the beating heart of the Notre Dame defense. - Danny Hobrock

4 – Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama Crimson Tide: Playing on a defense that is on arguably the best in the country and standing out isn’t easy. Fortunately for At 6’4” 260 Lbs, Hightower he does just that. He has 34 total tackles (18 solo), .5 sacks, and two quarterback hurries. HIghtower is a large, powerful linebacker who is a solid tackler and a big playmaker. Dory LeBlanc

5 – Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College Eagles: Kuechly led the nation in tackles in 2010 with 183, 20 ahead of Mason Foster, who finished second in the country. In 2009 he finished second in the country with 158 tackles, four behind Carmen Messina. He’s off to a good start this year with 99 tackles, 18 ahead of second place Brian Wagner. Danny Hobrock

In the hunt

  • Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma Sooners
  • Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois Fighting Illini
  • Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona Sun Devils
  • Andre Branch, DE, Clemson Tigers
  • David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State Wolfpack
  • Brett Roy, DE, Nevada Wolf Pack
  • Sammy Brown, LB, Houston Cougars