Bednarik Award Rankings: Mathieu, Ingram, Hightower and More

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.

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1 – Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU Tigers: Mathieu is no longer the leading tackler on the LSU defense. Brandon Taylor surpassed him with a big day Saturday afternoon. But nobody has helped his team in more ways than Mathieu has this year, and nobody’s had the impact he’s had so far. - Danny Hobrock

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 19 solo tackles (31 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: The Irish were off this week, so there’s not much new to report with Te’o, except that the rest was likely much-needed for a player who recorded 10 tackles with a sprained ankle the week before. - Danny Hobrock

4 – Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama Crimson Tide: Playing on a defense that is 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 39 total tackles (21 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 averages 16.5 tackles per game, and leads the country in total tackles with 99. He was the country’s leading tackler a year ago, and finished second in 2009. Talk about consistency. Danny Hobrock

In the hunt

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

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