The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame (class of 1969) and the NFL Hall of Fame (class of 1967).
Both Blanding and Kiser have previously been named this summer to the 2016 Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List. Blanding was on the 2015 preseason Bednarik Award Watch List as a sophomore.
Blanding (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.), a second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honoree last year, returns for his junior season in 2016. Blanding started all 12 games and finished the year No. 2 in the ACC with 9.58 tackles per game.
Kiser (Jr., Baltimore, Md.) was a first-team All-ACC honoree after leading the league with 9.75 tackles per game as a sophomore. Kiser started all 12 games and along with Blanding became the nation’s only defensive duo to finish the year ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in tackles for their respective conferences.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 31, 2016, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 21, 2016. The winner of the 2016 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 8, 2016. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 10, 2017.
The Chuck Bednarik Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Visit www.NCFAA.org to learn more.