MADISON, Wis. (PRESS RELEASE) – Wisconsin junior defensive end J.J. Watt has been named one of 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Chuck Bednarik Award, Maxwell Football Club President, Ron Jaworski, announced Monday. The award, which is in its 16th year, is given annually to the nation's Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year.
Watt leads the Badgers, ranks second in the Big Ten and is tied for the sixth in the country with 16.0 tackles for loss this season. He also leads the Badgers and is tied for fourth in the Big Ten with 6.0 sacks on the year. Watt is fourth on the team with 43 tackles and is tied for second on the team with six pass breakups.
In addition, the Pewaukee, Wis., native has blocked two kicks this year. At Iowa, he blocked an extra point in the first quarter that proved to be the difference in a 31-30 victory for the Badgers.
Also a candidate for the Nagurski Trophy and the Hendricks Award, Watt has been at his best against some of Wisconsin's best competition. In a two-week stretch against No. 1 Ohio State and No. 13 Iowa, Watt registered nine tackles, 3.0 sacks, 5.0 TFLs, one quarterback hurry and the blocked kick. For his performances, Watt was twice named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week.
This marks the second year in a row that UW has had a semifinalist for the award, as O'Brien Schofield earned the honor in 2009. Erasmus James is the only finalist Wisconsin has had for the award, doing so in 2004.
The winner of the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9. Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 22, and a second round of voting will take place at that time. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner on Friday, March 4, 2011 at the Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, N.J.
Voting will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 9 and close on Sunday, Nov. 21. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.