The Maxwell Football Club released their preseason watch list for the Bednarik award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. The only MACster on the list was Heath Harding, cornerback for the Miami RedHawks. The award was first given to Pat Fitzgerald in 1995. A defensive back has only managed to win the award three times in it’s history.
Harding was a standout prep player while at Dayton Christian, rushing for over 5000 yards at 14.1 per attempt. He was a Mr. Ohio nominee.
His career at Miami started off with a bang, where he started 9 out of 12 games in 2013, and had three interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. His performance was good enough to earn the title, “Newcomer of the Year” for the RedHawks.
His sophomore year, he had 98 tackles and 2 interceptions while being named Miami’s Defensive Skill Player of the Year. In 2015, in what would have been his junior year, he was injured for the season after 3 games.
In 2016, he played well enough to be named first team All-MAC. He recorded 67 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, and 4 picks to go along with 11 pass breakups.