MSU’s Dantzler, Thompson Named to Bednarik Award Watch List


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (MSU Athletics)  – College football’s summer watch list season opened Monday and Mississippi State was well represented with a pair of defensive standouts on the 25th annual Chuck Bednarik Award list.

Cornerback Cameron Dantzler and linebacker Erroll Thompson were included on the preseason list for the award, which has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995.

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The Bednarik Award put 80 players on its watch list, including 15 from the SEC. Mississippi State, Alabama, Florida and LSU were the SEC programs with multiple selections on the list

Former MSU standouts Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat were semifinalists for the award last year. Simmons also was a semifinalist in 2017.

A preseason All-American, Dantzler is arguably the top returning SEC cornerback this year. He ranked second in the conference last season among corners with a 41.1 passer rating allowed, according to PFF, and was one of only four SEC cornerbacks that did not allow a touchdown (min. 345 coverage snaps played). The Louisiana product also had a pair of interceptions and led the Bulldogs in passes defended (11).

Thompson, State’s defensive team captain for the upcoming season and a preseason All-SEC selection, was a leader on the top defense in the nation and a second-team All-SEC choice last year. He totaled 87 tackles and was the only SEC linebacker with at least 85 tackles and multiple interceptions in 2018. The Florence, Alabama, native was in a class of his own in coverage among SEC linebackers last season with a 56.2 passer rating allowed, according to Pro Football Focus (min. 200 coverage snaps), and he tied for third in total pressures (19)

Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 29, and the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 25. The winner will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 12. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 13, 2020.

Season tickets for the 2019 season can be purchased at, by calling 1-888-GO-DAWGS or in person at the MSU Athletic Ticket Office on the first floor of the Bryan Athletic Administration Building (288 Lakeview Drive), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


2019 Bednarik Award Watch List

Paulson Adebo CB Junior Stanford
McTelvin Agim DT Senior Arkansas
Bradlee Anae DE Senior Utah
Joe Bachie LB Senior Michigan State
JaQuan Bailey DE Senior Iowa State
Markus Bailey LB Senior Purdue
Ross Blacklock DT Junior TCU
Reed Blankenship S Junior Middle Tennessee
Shaun Bradley LB Senior Temple
Antoine Brooks DB Senior Maryland
Derrick Brown DT Senior Auburn
Myles Bryant CB Senior Washington
Andre Cisco S Sophomore Syracuse
Doug Costin NT Senior Miami (OH)
Carter Coughlin DE Senior Minnesota
Cameron Dantzler CB Junior Mississippi State
Raekwon Davis DE Senior Alabama
Akeem Davis-Gaither LB Senior Appalachian State
Grant Delpit S Junior LSU
Victor Dimukeje DE Junior Duke
Troy Dye LB Senior Oregon
A.J. Epenesa DE Junior Iowa
Paddy Fisher LB Junior Northwestern
Kristian Fulton CB Junior LSU
Tipa Galeai DE Senior Utah State
Lawrence Garner LB Junior Old Dominion
Cale Garrett LB Senior Missouri
Jon Garvin DE Junior Miami
Joe Gaziano DE Senior Northwestern
Jeff Gladney CB Senior TCU
Richie Grant S Junior UCF
Yetur Gross-Matos DE Junior Penn State
Bryce Hall CB Senior Virginia
Damar Hamlin S Senior Pitt
C.J. Henderson CB Junior Florida
Alex Highsmith DE Senior Charlotte
Lavert Hill CB Senior Michigan
Bryce Huff DE Senior Memphis
Juju Hughes S Senior Fresno State
Mustafa Johnson DE Junior Colorado
Patrick Johnson DE Junior Tulane
Jaylon Johnson CB Junior Utah
Antonio Jones-Davis LB Senior Northern Illinois
Khalid Kareem DE Senior Notre Dame
Javon Kinlaw DT Senior South Carolina
Nate Landman LB Junior Colorado
Bryan London LB Senior Texas State
James Lynch DL Junior Baylor
Justin Madubuike DL Junior Texas A&M
Kevin McGill DB Senior Eastern Michigan
Josh Metellus S Senior Michigan
Dylan Moses LB Junior Alabama
Kenneth Murray LB Junior Oklahoma
Julian Okwara DE Senior Notre Dame
Micah Parsons LB Sophomore Penn State
Shaq Quarterman LB Senior Miami
J.R. Reed S Senior Georgia
Elijah Riley CB Senior Army
Merlin Robertson LB Sophomore Arizona State
Amik Robertson CB Junior Louisiana Tech
Alton Robinson DE Senior Syracuse
Colin Schooler LB Junior Arizona
Gabe Sewell LB Senior Nevada
Isaiah Simmons LB Junior Clemson
Caden Sterns S Sophomore Texas
Darrell Taylor DE Senior Tennessee
Kyahva Tezino LB Senior San Diego State
Xavier Thomas DE Sophomore Clemson
Erroll Thompson LB Junior Mississippi State
Jay Tufele DT Sophomore USC
Kindle Vildor CB Senior Georgia Southern
Mykal Walker LB Senior Fresno State
Curtis Weaver DE Junior Boise State
Evan Weaver LB Senior Cal
Kenny Willekes DE Senior Michigan State
Marvin Wilson NG Junior Florida State
Logan Wilson LB Senior Wyoming
David Woodward LB Junior Utah State
Chase Young DE Junior Ohio State
Jabari Zuniga DE Senior Florida