Three Clemson Tigers–Vic Beasley, Stephone Anthony, and Grady Jarrett–were named to the Bednarik Award Watch List this morning. The Bednarik goes to the most outstanding defensive player in the nation. The trio of Tigers defenders will try to keep the award in ACC country in 2014, after Aaron Donald from the Pittsburgh Panthers won the award last year. Before Donald, the award had not gone to a player from the ACC since 2002, when E.J. Henderson from the Maryland Terrapins won it. A total of 76 players from around the country made the list, which is compiled by the Maxwell Football Club.
Three Tigers making the list is just the latest evidence that Clemson should have an excellent defense this season. And, if nothing else, it shows that the Clemson defense is earning respect, even if the list is a little, well… long. There probably are not 76 players in the country who realistically have a shot at this award and, of course, the player who turns out to be the best defender in college football this year may not even be on this list. There is also this, from Aaron Brenner, of the Charleston Post & Courier:
Know what’s cool? Clemson has 3 on Bednarik watch list. Know what’s not? So do NINE other schools, including three outside top-40 Ds in ’13.
— Aaron Brenner (@Aaron_Brenner) July 7, 2014
But it doesn’t matter. The Tigers have talent and experience all over the field on defense, so even if the importance of this list is a tad overblown, the expectations for Clemson’s defense are not. Vic Beasley, along with Stephone Anthony and Grady Jarrett, will lead a fearsome front-seven that could be the best in college football. And while that may not be enough to make Clemson the favorite in the ACC, it should give them a chance at another conference title.