AUBURN, Ala. The player chosen as Auburn's top defender last year has already earned national attention heading into 2014.
On Monday, the Maxwell Football Club released its preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, annually given to the player recognized as the nation's top defender. Auburn "star" safety Robenson Therezie was one of 76 players on the list. A rising senior, Therezie made 57 tackles (three for loss) and a team-high four interceptions for the Southeastern Conference champions last season. For his efforts, Therezie received the Zeke Smith Award from the coaching staff as the team's defensive player of the year.
To capture the Bednarik Award this season, he'll have to overcome history, as no Auburn defender has ever won it. He'll also have to beat out three of last year's semifinalists who return this fall: Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Southern California defensive end Leonard Williams.
Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the award last year.
Named in honor of college football and NFL hall of famer Chuck Bednarik, the award has been given out since 1995. This year's semifinalists will be announced Nov. 3 and the three finalists will be named Nov. 24. The winner will be revealed during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 11. The formal presentation of the award will come during the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala at the Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J. on March 6, 2015.