Irish Defense Gets More Pre-Season Praise

Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt lead the way as four Irish defensemen are named to the Bednarik Award Watch List. Nix and Tuitt are also on the Maxwell Award Watch List.

Notre Dame's highly-touted defense received more preseason accolades on Monday as four players were named to the 2013 Bednarik Award Watch List. The award is given to college football's defensive player of the year.

Senior cornerback Bennett Jackson, senior defensive lineman Louis Nix, senior linebacker Prince Shembo, and junior defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt all made the pre-season list.

As a junior, Nix started 11 of 13 games, recording 50 tackles, 7.5 TFLs, two sacks, and five pass breakups. He was named a third-team All-American by CBS

Another member of the Irish's stellar defensive line, Tuitt registered a team-high 12 sacks last season. He was named a first-team All-American by both and

Shembo leads all active Notre Dame players with 19 TFLs and is tied with Tuitt for the most sacks among active Notre Dame players (14.0). He recorded 51 tackles last season, 10.5 for a loss. He also had 7.5 sacks.

Jackson helped lead an impressive Irish secondary in 2012 that finished second in the nation in passing yards per completion (9.95). Jackson had four interceptions last season, second on the team to Manti Te'o (7).

Notre Dame's four selections were the most of any FBS football program. Defending national champion Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, and 2013 Notre Dame opponent Stanford all had three players on the list.

Nix and Tuitt were also named to the 2013 Maxwell Award Watch List. The Maxwell Award is given to the college football player of the year. Only six defensive players were named to the list.

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o won both the 2012 Bednarik Award and the 2012 Maxwell Award after anchoring a Notre Dame defense that led the Irish to an undefeated regular season for the first time in more than 20 years. Top Stories