Since 1995, the Bednarik Award has been awarded to the best defensive player in the nation. Last year, Scooby Wright won this award as a linebacker for the Arizona Wildcats. Of the many names on its watch list, UMass Minutemen Jovan Santos-Knox is the lone MAC name to be recognized after not having any MAC players on last year's Bednarik Award Watch List.
With expectations repeat as a First Team All-MAC performer again from national media outlets, Santos-Knox had a wowzing 143 total tackles (fifth in the nation) with 8.5 tackles for loss. Santos-Knox averaged 11.9 tackles per game, which was good for fourth in the nation in 2014. Against Akron, he recorded a career-high 19 tackles against Akron, one of four games with at least 15 tackles. Last year, he also had a pair of sacks (17 yards lost) with three forced fumbles (two against Ball State).
The winner of the Bednarik Award will be announced on December 10, 2015.