After allowing just 16.4 points per game in 2015, a figure that was tied for sixth-best in the nation, you might expect to see that the returning stars from last year’s San Diego State defense will figure prominently among the various watch lists to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
If today’s Bednarik Award list, which is given annually to the top defensive player in the country, is any indication, Aztecs fans won’t be disappointed. Cornerback Damontae Kazee and linebacker Calvin Munson were the only two Mountain West players to make the extensive list, which was released Tuesday morning.
Both are well deserving for their own reasons: Kazee was last year’s Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year after making 75 tackles, grabbing eight interceptions and breaking up seven other passes for the conference champions. Munson, like Kazee a first-team all-conference performer, led SDSU’s dynamic pass rush with 9.5 sacks, which was second in the MWC, and fifteen tackles for loss to go along with 98 total tackles.
It isn’t out of the question that another dominant season by the Aztecs could lead to some serious hardware for either Kazee or Munson, as last year’s Bednarik winner, Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich, hailed from the Group of 5.