STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Opening the first month of the season as one of the top defensive lineman across the Southeastern Conference, sophomore Jeffery Simmons was placed on the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list as part of the award’s expansion from its preseason selections.
The Chuck Bednarik Award was created by the Maxwell Football Club in honor of college football and NFL Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik and is presented to the top defensive player across college football.
Simmons has dominated the defensive line for the Bulldogs this season with 27 total tackles over Mississippi State’s first five contests. The Macon, Miss., native leads the team with 4.0 tackles for loss for a total of 27 yards, which includes a career-best and team-leading 3.5 sacks. Defensively, he has forced and recovered one fumble and has racked up two blocks on special teams, which ranks Simmons in a tie for first across the nation.
He was a crucial part to State’s scoring success early in the season as he became the first defensive player to record two touchdowns in a game since 2009 after he picked up two scores in MSU’s 57-21 win over Louisiana Tech on Sept. 9. One of his scores was a 90-yard fumble recovery, the longest fumble-recovery touchdown by a Bulldog in over 17 years. Simmons also led MSU to its largest victory in its 111-year history against LSU with a career-high seven tackles.
His efforts have earned him back-to-back SEC Defensive Linemen of the Week honors as Simmons became the first State student-athlete since former Bulldog and current Washington Redskin Preston Smith won the award three consecutive weeks to open the 2014 season.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced on Oct. 30, 2017, with the three finalists selected on Nov. 20, 2017. The winner will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, which will be held on Dec. 7, 2017 at the College Football Hall of Game in Atlanta, Ga.