2021 Bednarik Award Watch List: Kyle Hamilton, Kayvon Thibodeaux top names to watch

The offseason reaches peak levels of excitement when the days of July dwindle down, not just because the season is around the corner, but because the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list comes out. Giving fans a plethora of names to be mindful of as the season approaches, the award itself is given to the nation’s best defensive player in college football.

Past winners are an incredible mix of current Hall of Famers, soon-to-be Hall of Famers, and others who are likely on their way. It is the nation’s most prestigious award for the defensive side of the ball. It’s also incredibly indicative of future NFL success with such names as Chase Young, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Aaron Donald, Patrick Peterson, and Ndamukong Suh as past winners.

Awarded by the Maxwell Football Club, here is the 2021 preseason Bednarik Award watch list members!

2021 Preseason Bednarik Award Watch List

Will Anderson, LB, Alabama
Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
Demetrius Taylor, DE, Appalachian State
Shaun Jolly, CB, Appalachian State
Chase Lucas, CB, Arizona State
Grant Morgan, LB, Arkansas
Jalen Catalon, S, Arkansas
Zakoby McClain, LB, Auburn
Jalen Pitre, DB, Baylor
James Patterson, LB, Buffalo
Cameron Goode, LB, Cal
Troy Hairston, DE, Central Michigan
Troy Brown, LB, Central Michigan
Myjai Sanders, DE, Cincinnati
Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Bryan Bresee, DT, Clemson
Nolan Turner, S, Clemson
Jeffrey Gunter, DE, Coastal Carolina
Nate Landman, LB, Colorado
Scott Patchan, DE, Colorado State
Travis Jones, DT, Connecticut
Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Amari Gainer, LB, Florida State
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia
Derrick Canteen, CB, Georgia Southern
Darius Mausau, LB, Hawaii
Jake Hansen, LB, Illinois
Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana
Tiawan Mullen, CB, Indiana
Will McDonald, DE, Iowa State
Mike Rose, LB, Iowa State
Durrell Johnson, DE, Liberty
Bralen Trahan, S, Louisiana
Tyler Grubbs, LB, Louisiana Tech
Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Eli Ricks, CB, LSU
Quindell Johnson, S, Memphis
Bubba Bolden, S, Miami (Fl.)
Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
Reed Blankenship, S, Middle Tennessee
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State
Trajan Jeffcoat, DE, Missouri
Diego Fagot, LB, Navy
Payton Wilson, LB, NC State
Lawson Hall, LB, Nevada
Jeremiah Gemmel, LB, North Carolina
Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern
Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State
Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State
Nik Bonitto, LB, Oklahoma
Isaiah Thomas, DE, Oklahoma
Malcolm Rodriguez, LB, Oklahoma State
Kolby Harvell-Peel, S, Oklahoma State
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon
Avery Roberts, LB, Oregon State
Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State
Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Olakunle Fatukasi, LB, Rutgers
Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State
Caden McDonald, LB, San Diego State
Cade Hall, DE, San Jose State
Kingsley Enagbare, DE, South Carolina
Ochaun Mathis, DE, TCU
Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU
Keondre Coburn, DT, Texas
DeMarvin Leal, DT, Texas A&M
Colin Schooler, LB, Texas Tech
Desjuan Johnson, DT, Toledo
Carlton Martial, LB, Troy
Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane
Jaxon Player, DT, Tulsa
Kris Moll, LB, UAB
Drake Jackson, LB, USC
Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Justin Rice, LB, Utah State
Praise Amaewhule, DE, UTEP
Rashad Wisdom, S, UTSA
Anfernee Orji, LB, Vanderbilt
Edefuan Ulofoshio, LB, Washington
Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Dante Stills, DT, West Virginia
DeAngelo Malone, DE, Western Kentucky
Ralph Holley, DT, Western Michigan
Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin
Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

Who is the Bednarik Award named after?

The Bednarik Award is given annually to the best defensive player of the year, annually presented by the Maxwell Football Club. It is, of course, named after former No. 1 overall pick in 1949 Chuck Bednarik. A two-time consensus All-American and Maxwell Award winner, Bednarik had an illustrious collegiate career prior to a dominant professional career.

The first player drafted in 1949, Bednarik was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles after he played both center and linebacker for the University of Pennsylvania. Just 20 years after his collegiate days were over, Bednarik was voted by a panel of writers, coaches, and Hall of Famers as the ‘greatest center of all time.’

Bednarik had just as great of a professional career as he was the last NFL player in history to play on both sides of the ball full-time. The award was established in 1995 and is voted on by members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA head coaches, sportswriters, and sportscasters around the country. It is given out during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show after the season.

Want more 2022 NFL Draft prospect news? Want to do your own mock draft?

Dive into PFN’s Free NFL Mock Draft Simulator and test your own drafting acumen. Continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay in the loop on all things college football and the NFL Draft landscape.

Leave a Comment