THE FLATS – Georgia Tech senior defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu and senior cornerback Jemea Thomas were named Monday to the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes annually to the top defensive player in college football.
Attaochu, who moved from outside linebacker to defensive end in the spring, enters his final season with 19.0 career sacks (tied for eighth in Georgia Tech history) and 27.5 tackles for loss.
The preseason honors are beginning to roll in for Attaochu, who was named preseason first team All-ACC by Phil Steele’s magazine.
Thomas has played in 41 career games and enters the 2013 season with a team-best seven interceptions. The Queensland (Ga.) native has played every position in the secondary and has returned punts in past seasons.
Attaochu and Thomas are two of nine players from the ACC on the Bednarik watch list.
The 19th annual Bednarik Award launched its preseason watch list Monday morning. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of '69 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of '67.
Last season, Manti Te’o made history by becoming the first player to win the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award in the same year.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced Oct. 29, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled Nov. 25th. The winners of the 2013 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 12th. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City on March 7, 2014
The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, which analyzes both past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2013 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, FBS head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.
The Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik Awards are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast 678 years of tradition-selection excellence.