Utah State junior linebacker Kyler Fackrell was named to the 2014 Bednarik Award Watch List, it was announced Monday by the National College Football Awards Association. The Bednarik Award, named in honor of Chuck Bednarik, has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995.
Fackrell, who is the only defensive player from Utah recognized, is also one of just two Mountain West defenders named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, along with Fresno State senior safety Derron Smith.
In all, Fackrell is one of 76 Football Bowl Subdivision players named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, including 25 linebackers.
Entering his junior season, Fackrell is one of 40 college football players named to the College Football Performance Awards Linebacker of the Year Trophy Watch List and a first-team preseason all-Mountain West selection by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.
Fackrell, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior from Mesa, Arizona (Mesa HS), was named an honorable mention Sophomore All-American by College Football News and earned second-team all-Mountain West honors a year ago as he finished the season ranked first on the team with 13.0 tackles for loss, tied for first with two forced fumbles and second with his 5.0 sacks, while he ranked fourth on the team with 82 total tackles (37-solo, 45-assist). He averaged 5.9 tackles per game to rank 35th in the Mountain West. During the season, he recorded three quarterback hurries, recovered one fumble, intercepted one pass and registered one pass breakup. He was also named the Mountain West's Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards National Linebacker of the Week following USU's 47-10 home win against Hawai'i as he recorded nine tackles, including 0.5 for loss, to go along with an interception return of 99 yards for his first career defensive touchdown, which ranks as the third-longest interception return in Utah State and Mountain West history.
As a redshirt freshman in 2012, Fackrell earned first-team all-WAC honors and was named Utah State’s first-ever Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American. He finished the year ranking second on the team and eighth in the WAC with three interceptions (0.23 pg), third on the team and 13th in the WAC with 8.0 tackles for loss (0.62 pg), and fourth on the team and 13th in the WAC with 87 tackles (6.7 pg), which ranks third all-time in school history among freshmen.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Nov. 3, while three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 24. The winner of the 2014 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 11.
Utah State opens the 2014 season on Sunday, Aug. 31, at Tennessee and plays its first home game against Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.
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Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.