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Veteran Buckeyes defensive leaders named to Bednarik Award watch list

Spencer Holbrook08/01/22
Zach Harrison by Birm -- Lettermen Row
Zach Harrison is a candidate for the Bednarik Award. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

COLUMBUS — Zach Harrison and Ronnie Hickman keep gaining attention as veteran leaders of the Ohio State defense.

A week after Harrison and Hickman earned nods to the Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list, they were also included on another major defensive watch list Monday, getting attention as preseason candidates for the Bednarik Award, given annually to the best defensive player in college football by the Maxwell Football Club.

Chase Young is the only Ohio State player to win the Bednarik Award, taking it home in 2019.

Harrison, a team captain last fall and projected leader this season, is one of the more experienced members on the edges for the Buckeyes. In three seasons, Harrison has 72 total tackles and 9.5 sacks. He started 11 of 13 games with strong performances against Minnesota, Purdue and Utah. Harrison earned Second-Team All-Big Ten honors last season.

Hickman continues to have his name on preseason award watch lists, and it isn’t by surprise. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety was a force last season in the back end for the Buckeyes and led the team in tackles. Hickman will be one of the names to watch in new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles system this fall.

Other Buckeyes on preseason watch lists, All-American teams

C.J. Stroud, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back TreVeyon Henderson were all named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is given annually to the top player in all of college football, on Monday. Stroud, the Buckeyes second-year starting quarterback, was among 35 quarterbacks named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list, and he is among the preseason favorites to win the award. That watch list came out Tuesday.

TreVeyon Henderson and Smith-Njigba were both named preseason first-team All-Americans by the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Another pair of Buckeyes, tackle Dawand Jones and kicker Noah Ruggles, were second-team selections. That list came out at the beginning of July.

Henderson was also named to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the country’s top running back, on Wednesday. And Smith-Njigba was listed as a preseason player to watch for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the top receiver each year.

Ohio State center Luke Wypler was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list last week.

The Buckeyes had offensive tackles Paris Johnson and Dawand Jones named to the Outland Trophy watch list on Tuesday.

Defensive end Zach Harrison and safety Ronnie Hickman were named to the Nagurski Trophy watch list on Tuesday.

Kicker Noah Ruggles picked up a preseason honor: the Lou Groza Award watch list, which came out on Wednesday. And wide receiver Kamryn Babb was listed on the watch list for the Wuerffel Trophy, which is given based on community service.