The Chuck Bednarik Award is given annually to college football’s top defensive player. The winner is judged by the Maxwell Football Club which consists of coaches, media members, etc.
Bednarik, of course, is one of the greatest defensive players in the history of football. After a standout college career at the University of Pennsylvania where he starred on both offense and defense, Bednarik would go on to the NFL where he would have a 14-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles and eventually be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
So, to honor Bednarik, the Maxwell Club created the award in 1995 as a way to honor the top defensive player in all of college football for that given season.
Earlier this week, the Bednarik Award announced its watch list ahead of the 2020 college football season and the Virginia Tech Hokies were well represented with two players making the cut.
Senior linebacker Rayshard Ashby, an All-ACC performer one year ago, led the league in tackles with 120 and tackles per game, averaging over nine per contest. Ashby, a multi-year starter and the leader of Virginia Tech’s defense, also finished 2019 with 17 tackles for loss and five sacks.
Tech’s other representative was junior cornerback Caleb Farley.
Farley was terrific in 2019, just his second full year of playing corner. The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder from Hickory, N.C., started 11 games, leading the ACC in passes defended and finishing second in the league with four interceptions.
Throughout the offseason, Pro Football Focus, which does an outstanding job of grading individual performances at both the college and pro level, lauded Farley as one of the top defensive players in the country entering 2020.
Both Ashby and Farley are key performers for new defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton as the Hokies enter a transition year in 2020.
Now, we just need there to be football this fall.