The 2020 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List is officially out and your USC Trojans are widely represented. In fact, USC and the LSU Tigers tie atop the leaderboard with three different players represented while a slew of others have two or fewer.
USC is represented by Drake Jackson, Jay Tufele and Talanoa Hufanga (a watch list member for the Lott IMPACT Trophy as well).
Presenting our 2020 #BednarikAward Watch List for college football's best defensive player ...— Rich Cirminiello (@RichCirminiello) July 13, 2020
Fingers firmly crossed that we get to evaluate each and every one of you this fall... pic.twitter.com/KU5ERUr7DT
The Bednarik Award is given out annually to the nation’s best defensive player overall, as deemed by the Maxwell Football Club. The voting panel is made up of Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head college football coaches, sportswriters and sportscasters from across the nation.
Chase Young from Ohio State won the award last year as it’s now gone to defensive ends the past two seasons after Kentucky’s Josh Allen won the award two seasons ago.
Jackson had a dominant true freshman season last year, landing on the 2019 247Sports Freshman All-American first-team, the PFF Freshman All-American Team (as selected by yours truly), All-Pac-12 Second Team and many more. He won the Athletic Midseason Freshman All-American award as well.
Tufele came back for his redshirt-junior season at USC after being considered a potential first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He posted 41 total tackles and 4.5 sacks with another 2.5 tackles for loss a season ago. He is now a two-time USC Defensive Lineman of the Year award winner.
Hufanga was named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List this summer after having 90 tackles in just 10 games a season ago. He was named to the All-Pac-12 second team by Phil Steele and was the Co-Defensive Perimeter Player of the Year for USC a season ago.
The Maxwell Club awards the Bednarik Award every year and has done so since 1995. Former USC linebacker Rey Maualuga won the award in 2008.