West Virginia University football junior safety Karl Joseph was named today to the watch list for the 20th annual Bednarik Award, as announced by the Maxwell Football Club. He is one of 76 players on the preseason watch list, and one of 11 safeties earning a spot.
Joseph, who manned the free safety position for the Mountaineers the past two seasons, is moving down to the spur position for WVU this year. That switch could help boost his tackle numbers and make him more attractive as a potential vote-getter this year.
The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of '69 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of '67.
“Karl has played a lot of football for West Virginia and has made a lot of plays the last two years,” said WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “He will be counted on as one of our team leaders this year as we want to take another step forward in our third year in the Big 12 Conference.”
Joseph finished with 68 tackles as a sophomore in 2013, as well as having two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, four pass breakups, an interception and three tackles for loss. He also ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 2 nationally in fumbles recovered. He finished with five or more tackles in seven games and five or more solo tackles in six games.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced November 3, 2014, while the three finalists will be unveiled November 24, 2014. The winners of the 2014 Awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 11, 2014. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Revel Casino Hotel Atlantic City on March 6, 2015.
The watch list candidates have been chosen by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, which analyzes both past performance and future potential. The Club reserves the right to make additions and deletions to these lists as the 2014 season unfolds. All members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, FBS head coaches and selected national media are eligible to vote for the awards.