For the second consecutive year, Western Kentucky defensive end DeAngelo Malone has been named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, the Maxwell Football Club said Monday.
The Atlanta native is one of five Conference USA players on the initial list and one of 19 defensive ends. There were no other players from Kentucky schools.
Malone enters his fifth season as a Hilltopper, exercising his option for an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 48 career games – 39 of them starts – he has made 255 total tackles (135 solo, 120 assisted) while racking up 42.5 tackles for loss and 25 sacks. Malone’s 25th sack on Nov. 14, 2020, against Southern Miss set the program’s FBS era (since 2009) record, while his 42.5 tackles for loss entering the 2021 season stands 0.5 behind Andrew Jackson for that record as well.
In 2019, he produced 99 tackles – including an FBS era-record 21 for loss – to go along with 11.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hurries. He was voted C-USA Defensive Player of the Year and was the first Hilltopper to earn the distinction since WKU joined the league before the 2014 campaign. His 99 total tackles were the third-most by an FBS defensive lineman in a single-season over the past decade.
The Bednarik award is presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football. The 2021 season will mark the 27th edition of the honor. Last year’s winner was linebacker Zaven Collins of Tulsa, who was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 16th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
2021 Bednarik Watch List – C-USA Players
DeAngelo Malone – DE, WKU
Praise Amaewhule – DE, University of Texas at El Paso
Reed Blankenship – SAF, Middle Tennessee
Tyler Grubbs – LB, Louisiana Tech
Kris Moll – LB, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Rashad Wisdom – SAF, University of Texas-San Antonio