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.
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 HailState.com/Tickets, 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
|Joe Bachie||LB||Senior||Michigan State|
|JaQuan Bailey||DE||Senior||Iowa State|
|Reed Blankenship||S||Junior||Middle Tennessee|
|Doug Costin||NT||Senior||Miami (OH)|
|Cameron Dantzler||CB||Junior||Mississippi State|
|Akeem Davis-Gaither||LB||Senior||Appalachian State|
|Tipa Galeai||DE||Senior||Utah State|
|Lawrence Garner||LB||Junior||Old Dominion|
|Yetur Gross-Matos||DE||Junior||Penn State|
|Juju Hughes||S||Senior||Fresno State|
|Antonio Jones-Davis||LB||Senior||Northern Illinois|
|Khalid Kareem||DE||Senior||Notre Dame|
|Javon Kinlaw||DT||Senior||South Carolina|
|Bryan London||LB||Senior||Texas State|
|Justin Madubuike||DL||Junior||Texas A&M|
|Kevin McGill||DB||Senior||Eastern Michigan|
|Julian Okwara||DE||Senior||Notre Dame|
|Micah Parsons||LB||Sophomore||Penn State|
|Merlin Robertson||LB||Sophomore||Arizona State|
|Amik Robertson||CB||Junior||Louisiana Tech|
|Kyahva Tezino||LB||Senior||San Diego State|
|Erroll Thompson||LB||Junior||Mississippi State|
|Kindle Vildor||CB||Senior||Georgia Southern|
|Mykal Walker||LB||Senior||Fresno State|
|Curtis Weaver||DE||Junior||Boise State|
|Kenny Willekes||DE||Senior||Michigan State|
|Marvin Wilson||NG||Junior||Florida State|
|David Woodward||LB||Junior||Utah State|
|Chase Young||DE||Junior||Ohio State|