Leman, Reda and Mendenhall Semifinal Lists

J Leman, Jason Reda and Rashard Mendenhall have been named to national award semifinal lists. Leman is one of 15 narrowed down on the Chuck Bednarik Award list, given to the Outstanding Defensive Player. Mendenhall also is among the top 15 for the Maxwell Award given to the Outstanding Offensive Player. Reda is among the 20 Lou Groza semifinalists, the national placekicker award.



Leman, who also is a Lombardi and Butkus Award semifinalist, has led the Big Ten in total tackles for 15 of the last 16 weeks. He also has aided an Illini defense that ranks 22nd in rushing allowed. He is a two-time captain, returning first-team All-Big Ten selection and honorable mention All-America n by Sports Illustrated.

Reda is one of the top kickers in the nation and one of only three who have made three field goals over 50 yards this year. He is a near perfect 13-of-14, and his 92 percent accuracy ranks second in the conference. In addition to his three over 50 yards, Reda has connected on four over 45 yards. He is nearing many Illinois career kicking and scoring records. He needs 12 points and five field goals to set the all-time scoring and field goal mark, respectively.

Mendenhall, the junior running back, has taken the country by storm with his 131.4 yards per game average, which ranks eighth nationally. He has helped the Illini to a 261.3 per game average, which is sixth best in the country. Mendenhall averages 6.8 yards per carry, the second-best in the NCAA and has broken two Illinois single-season records, for number of 100-yard games and touchdowns scored. He is also 17 yards from Illinois' single-season rushing mark. Mendenhall has recorded 41 carries of 10 yards or more, 13 of 20 yards or more and has rushed for 19 first downs on third-down tries, which ranks second nationally.

The announcement of the winners of the all three Awards will be made during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show that will be broadcast on ESPN on Thursday December 6, 2007. The formal presentation of the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner, to be held on Friday March 7, 2008 at the Harrah's Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The 16th annual Lou Groza Award banquet dinner will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 4 in Palm Beach, Fla.

Information by the U of I


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