We are a little over a month away from the kickoff of the 2019 season which means it’s time for pre-season watch lists. This year the USC defense has a representative for the highest award given on that side of the ball.
USC defensive lineman Jay Tufele was named to the Bednarik Award watch list Monday morning. The award is given to the most outstanding defensive player in college football.
The redshirt Sophomore out of Salt Lake City, Utah is a prime candidate to start on the defensive line this coming season. With a new defensive line coach in Chad Kuha’aha’a coming over from Boise State, Tufele is in prime position to have another effective season.
Tufele was one of the bright spots on a USC team the struggled through a disappointing 5-7 2018 season. That season he had a total of 23 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and a fumble recovery which was returned for a touchdown in the 41-28 loss to Utah.
The Bednarik watch list also includes other Pac-12 defensive players such as Oregon Linebacker Troy Dye, Utah defensive end Bradley Anae and cornerback Jaylon Johnson, Washington cornerback Myles Bryant, Arizona State linebacker Merlin Robinson, and Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo. USC will face all of those candidates this season.
The Bednarik award has been awarded to the most outstanding defensive player in the nation by the Maxwell football club. Since it’s existence in 1995 only one Trojan has taken home the award. In 2008 USC linebacker Rey Maualuga became the first and only player in program history to win the award. The last player in the Pac-12 to be named Bednarik Award was Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright in 2014. Last year Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen took home the award.