MSU’s Simmons, Sweat named Bednarik Award semifinalists

The Bednarik Award is presented annually to the college defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club.

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 2:45 PM

PHILADELPHIA (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat were both named semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award on Monday by the Maxwell Football Club.

The Bednarik Award is presented annually to the college defensive player of the year by the Maxwell Football Club. The field of contenders is comprised of 20 candidates, featuring a representative from every Power 5 conference. Simmons is one of two returners from last year’s semifinal list. MSU is one of just five schools with multiple semifinalists, joining Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Washington.

College football’s most feared pass rusher, Sweat is tied for second in the Southeastern Conference and seventh in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 8.5 sacks through eight games this season. He has also racked up 11 tackles for loss, which is the third-most in the SEC. No player in the Power 5 has tallied more sacks since the start of the 2017 season than Sweat, who has 19 in his 21 career games played in that span. Sweat, who led the SEC in sacks with 10.5 in 2017, is looking to become the second player since at least 2002 to lead the league in sacks back-to-back years.

A dominant interior force, Simmons leads all SEC defensive linemen with 39 tackles this season and ranks tied for fourth in the conference with 9.5 tackles for loss. He boasts a 90.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, which is fifth in the FBS among defensive interior linemen, and he also owns a 91.8 grade in the run game that ranks fourth nationally. Simmons has recorded 18 stops and 16 total pressures, including 12 hurries according to PFF.

In the 21 games played together, the pair of first-round NFL prospects have combined for 48 tackles for loss (28 vs. SEC). Sweat has 26.5, while Simmons has 21.5 (Simmons has 25.0 in his career). The tandem has also combined for 24 sacks (16.5 vs. SEC) as Sweat has 19 and Simmons has five. On ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest Big Board for the 2019 NFL Draft, Simmons is No. 11 and Sweat is No. 13.

Semifinalist voting for the award will begin Wednesday and will close on Nov. 18. Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 19 and a second round of voting will take place at that time. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.

The winner will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show presented by Gildan which will be broadcast live on ESPN on Dec. 6. The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner on Friday, March 8, 2019 at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

2018 Chuck Bednarik Award Semifinalists

DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama

S Deionte Thompson, Alabama

DE Zach Allen, Boston College

DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson

DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson

DE Jachai Polite, Florida

DE Brian Burns, Florida State

CB Deandre Baker, Georgia

DT Ed Oliver, Houston

LB Josh Allen, Kentucky

DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech

S Grant Delpit, LSU

LB Devin White, LSU

DE Chase Winovich, Michigan

DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

NG Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

NG Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame

DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State

CB Byron Murphy, Washington

LB Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319704

Reported Deaths: 7369
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22276267
Hinds20677421
Harrison18407317
Rankin13880282
Jackson13689248
Madison10249224
Lee10056176
Jones8464167
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Pike3369111
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Scott320174
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Coahoma298784
Simpson298189
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Clay187854
Stone187833
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Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
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Smith164034
Walthall135347
Greene131833
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Perry127138
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Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108033
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Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69532
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548323

Reported Deaths: 11288
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809531565
Mobile42066826
Madison35663525
Tuscaloosa26162458
Shelby25595254
Montgomery25081612
Baldwin21839313
Lee16265176
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Blount6944139
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Chilton4472116
Franklin431083
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Tallapoosa4136155
Escambia401780
Chambers3726124
Dallas3607156
Clarke352961
Marion3242106
Pike314078
Lawrence3129100
Winston283572
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Geneva257581
Marengo250665
Pickens236862
Barbour234659
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Butler224071
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Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph187044
Monroe179341
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155657
Cleburne153244
Lamar146537
Lowndes142054
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