Sophomore defensive end Leonard Williams was named one of 16 semifinalists for the 2013 Chuck Bednarik Award for outstanding defensive player of the year.
Williams is the only underclassman among the semifinalists, who represent six different conferences. The candidates were selected by the Maxwell Football Club National Selection Committee. Williams is up against fellow Pac-12 players Anthony Barr of UCLA, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu of Oregon and Trent Murphy of Stanford.
At 6-foot-5 and 290 lbs., Williams leads the team this season with 54 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss and is tied with redshirt senior linebacker Devon Kennard for five sacks. Defensive Coordinator Clancy Pendergast shifted Williams from defensive tackle to defensive end midway through the season.
The Daytona Beach, Fla. native entered the season coming off a strong debut in 2012. He was named 2012 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and made the Freshman All-American team and All Pac-12 honorable mention for Football Writers, Sporting News, Scout.com, College Football News and Phil Steele. Last season, Williams appeared in all 13 games of 2012, starting in nine, and at Stanford, he became the first USC true freshman to start at defensive tackle since 2001.
Winners of the Bednarik Award are determined by voting among Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media. Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 25, followed by a second round of voting. The winner of the award will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, which will be broadcast on ESPN on Dec. 12.
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