TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Defensive back Asante Samuel Jr. has been added to the Bednarik Award Watch List, presented to the nation’s top defensive player.
Samuel ranks fourth nationally with three interceptions and is second in the country with two fumble recoveries in 2020. His nine passes defended are seventh in the country. Samuel is tied for the Atlantic Coast Conference lead in both interceptions and fumbles recovered and is second in passes defended.
Samuel opened the season with a takeaway in four consecutive games – two interceptions against Georgia Tech, a fumble recovery at No. 12 Miami, an interception vs. Jacksonville State and a fumble recovery at No. 5 Notre Dame. In records dating back to 2000, Samuel is just the second FBS player with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in his team’s first four games.
The Sunrise, Florida, native has added 31 tackles, including 1.0 for loss, and also forced a fumble this season. A career-high nine of his 31 tackles came against Jacksonville State. He has started 23 games in his career and 10 consecutive dating back to last season.
For his career, Samuel ranks fifth nationally, and first in the ACC, with 33 passes defended.
Samuel joins defensive back Hamsah Nasirildeen and tackle Marvin Wilson on the Bednarik Watch List.
The Bednarik Award has been presented since 1995 to the Defensive Player of the Year. Semifinalists will be announced November 30, while the three finalists will be unveiled December 8. The winner will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show in either late December or early January.