Nevada defensive end Dom Peterson was one of 90 defensive players selected to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top defensive player, given most recently to Ohio State defensive end and No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Chase Young.
Peterson is one of five members from the Mountain West to earn a spot on the watch list. The others were Boise State CB Jalen Walker, San Diego State’s Tariq Thompson (S) and Cameron Thomas (DT) and Fresno State LB Justin Rice.
Peterson was named to the All-Mountain first team as a sophomore last season. He is the conference’s leading returning sacks (9.0) and tackles-for-loss (15.0) leader from 2019. Peterson was the Wolf Pack’s top defensive lineman last year and listed atop my Top-10 Nevada players list entering 2020.
Peterson recorded at least one tackle-for-loss in all but one game in 2019\. His best game came in a 21-10 win over New Mexico, where he recorded four solo tackles, three tackles-for-loss and two sacks. Peterson was named to the preseason All-Mountain West first team by Athlon Sports last month.
The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995 and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former standout at the University of Pennsylvania and with the Philadelphia Eagles. Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame (class of 1969) and the NFL Hall of Fame (class of 1967).
The three returning semifinalists from 2019 including Derek Stingley (LSU), Micah Parsons (Penn State) and Marvin Wilson (Florida State). LSU, Pittsburgh and USC lead the way with three candidates each and 17 other schools boast two candidates.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Nov. 3, while the three finalists for the Bednarik Award will be unveiled Nov. 23. The winner of the 2020 Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 10.