Vellano is one of 65 players on the initial watch list, including 10 from the Atlantic Coast Conference, announced Monday by the Maxwell Football Club.
A consensus first team All-ACC selection and a second team All-American as a junior, Vellano led the FBS in tackles by a lineman with 7.8 per game last season. Vellano has started the last 25 games for Maryland, racking up 157 tackles including 18 for loss in that span. His 7.5 career sacks are tops on the team among returnees.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 29, and the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 19. The winners of the 2011 Maxwell and Bednarik Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 6.
The award has been presented since 1995 and is named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, a former University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Eagle great.