Richard LeCounte, Eric Stokes named to Bednarik Watch List

Jonathan Williams

Georgia is returning a defense that is loaded with talent this year and two players that headline that defense are Richard LeCounte and Eric Stokes. 

Both of the veteran defensive backs were named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list. The award is given annually to the best defensive player in the nation which is judged by the Maxwell Football Club. The last time a Georgia Bulldog won the Bednarik Award was back in 2004 when David Pollack was playing between the hedges, but perhaps Stokes or LeCounte could change that this year. 

Junior defensive back, Eric Stokes, has been an impressive asset for Georgia in the two years that he has played. As just a freshman, Stokes had nine pass deflections and 20 total tackles in 13 games. He followed that season with nine more deflections and 38 total tackles as a sophomore. 

Now entering his third year, Stokes is as seasoned as a defensive back can be. With 27 games played and starting in 16 of those in just two seasons, Stokes will play a major role in the Georgia defense and will be one of the main pieces that dictate how well opponents will pass the ball against Georgia this year. 

Richard LeCounte could have said his goodbyes early and set off for the NFL but decided he wanted one more crack at bringing a National Championship back to Athens. The Senior defensive back will have to step up and fill the shoes of being a vocal leader on defense, 

In his junior season, LeCounte had a tremendous year in which he had four interceptions, seven pass deflections, two forced fumbles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 61 total tackles. Having a player with the skill set of LeCounte's returning for their senior is huge for Georgia. If Georgia is going to have one of the best defenses in the nation this year a big part of it starts with him. 

The Georgia secondary will have their hands full this season as they face Alabama in possibly the first week and there is a good chance they face them a second time down the road in Atlanta as well. 

If Georgia has any hopes of playing in another College Football Playoff game this year they will need one of if not both of Stokes and LeCounte to have stellar seasons. If that happens not only could Georgia be making another trip to the National Championship but the Bednarik award could be coming back to Athens for the second time in school history. 

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