Cal linebacker Evan Weaver, who leads the NCAA in tackles and was a consensus mid-season All-American, is one of just two Pac-12 Conference athletes among the 20 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award that goes to the nation’s top defensive player.
Weaver and Utah defensive end Bradlee Anae are the only Pac-12 players included on the list.
Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 25 and the 25th Bednarik Award will be presented on Dec. 12 as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show. ESPN will broadcast the event.
Twenty semifinalists for the 83rd Maxwell Award, which goes to the national college player of the year, also were announced Tuesday. The list includes two Pac-12 players - Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and Utah running back Zack Moss.
Weaver, the nation’s leading returning tackler from 2018, has more than picked up where he left off.
The senior from Spokane, Washington, leads FBS in total tackles (127), total tackles per game (15.9), solo tackles (69) and solo tackles per game (8.6).
He has assembled three games if at least 20 tackles, including 22 twice to match the Cal record set last year by Jordan Kunaszyk.
Weaver is on pace to rack up 191 tackles in a 12-game season and 206 for a 13-game campaign, which assumes Cal earns a bowl bid.
The NCAA record for total tackles in a season is 193, set in 13 games by Lawrence Flugence of Texas Tech in 2002, and the most in a 12-game season 191 by Luke Kuechly in 2011.
Weaver is well within reach of Cal’s school record of 167, set by Hardy Nickerson in 1985.
Cal (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) has a bye this week, then tries to snap a four-game losing streak on Nov. 9 at home against Washington State. The game has been scheduled for a 4 p.m. kickoff.
Here is the complete list of the 20 Bednarik semifinalists: