Waggner on Bednarik watch list

Tennessee defensive back Prentiss Waggner has been chosen as one of 65 preseason candidates for the 2011 Chuck Bednarik Award, which annually honors the nation's top defensive player in college football.

Waggner, who is one of eight SEC defensive backs featured, was also named to the Lott IMPACT Trophy Award Watch List in April. The Lott Trophy also recognizes the top collegiate defensive player in the country.

Prentiss Waggner, who earned Associated Press second team All-SEC and Scout.com second team All-America honors in 2010, broke the UT season record for interceptions returned for touchdowns, taking an NCAA FBS-leading three to the end zone.

The Clinton, La., native tied for seventh in the FBS and first in the SEC with three recovered fumbles last season, while also tying for the team lead with five INTs. His eight total takeaways were the most by a Vol since Deon Grant picked off nine passes in 1999.

Additionally, Waggner recorded 57 tackles, to rank fifth on the squad, along with nine passes defended, which was second among the Vols.

The Bednarik Award, which was first presented in 1995, has seen two Vols earn semifinalist honors. Kevin Burnett was UT's first Bednarik Award semifinalist in 2004, while Eric Berry advanced in 2008.

The award is presented in honor of College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik.

Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 31 and the three finalists will be unveiled on Nov. 21. The winner of the 2011 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 8. The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City on March 2, 2012.

For the complete 2011 Bednarik Award Watch List, visit: www.maxwellfootballclub.org.

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