Not surprisingly, the top two teams in the country are front and center for an award that honors defensive excellence.
The Bednarik Award is the latest to release its list of semifinalists for the 2018 version of its trophy, with an even 20 players spread out across four Power Five conferences (sorry, Big 12) and two from the Group of Five. Alabama and Clemson, the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the country, respectively, were one of five schools to have two players each on the list.
The other three with two apiece are LSU, Mississippi State and Washington.
The SEC’s nine players were far and away the most for any conference, with the ACC next up at four; the Big Ten and Pac-12 followed with two apiece. The AAC, and Conference USA were represented with one each as well, as was one independent (Notre Dame).
Just two finalists from a year ago for an award won by Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick made the cut this go around — Houston’s Ed Oliver, Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons (pictured).
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
Jachai Polite, DE, Florida
Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky
Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
Grant Delpit, S, LSU
Devin White, LB, LSU
Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
Montez Sweat, LB, Mississippi State
Jeffery Simmons, NG, Mississippi State
Jerry Tillery, NG, Notre Dame
Dre’nont Jones, DT, Ohio State
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington