Depsite a lackluster 2018 performance by the defense, there are several UCLA football players that did well individually, yet they were snubbed in the preseason Bednarik Award watch list. Go Joe Bruin takes a look at five that should have been nominated.
Today was the first of ten days in which preseason award watch lists will be announced. The UCLA football team already has one player named as running back Joshua Kelley made it to the Maxwell Award watch list, but there was another list that was announced today which did not have a single Bruin on it.
The Bednarik Award is given to the best defensive player in the nation, and even though the Bruins were not great on defense last season, they had several individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty.
Five Bruins That Should Have Been Considered for the Bednarik
- OLB Keisean Lucier-South
- CB Darnay Holmes
- ILB Krys Barnes
- S Quentin Lake
- ILB Tyree Thompson
These five players, it could be argued, could be some of the best defenders in the nation, if not the conference. Their production, along with their potential going into the 2019 season should have at least gotten a few of them a nod on this prestigious award watchlist.
The Bruins were not good last season (and actually got worse as the season went on), but these five players listed above were among the best in the Pac-12.
If there was one UCLA Bruin that should have gotten nominated, it is Darnay Holmes. Since his freshman year, he has been putting on a show in the UCLA secondary and continues to improve, which leads us to believe that 2019 will be stellar for Holmes. Last season, Holmes had 48 total tackles to go with a team-high three interceptions and 11 pass breakups. This year, we expect him to improve upon those numbers.
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Lucier-South and Barnes are two others that should have received a nod in this preseason watchlist. With the linebackers struggling from injuries, both KLS and Barnes put the position group on their backs and tried to make the most of a bad situation. Though not a natural pass rusher, KLS led the team in sacks (4.0) and tackles for loss (11.5), proving that he is more than just a reliable zone defender.
Barnes was forced to take on a bigger role, which not only helped him grow into the position but resulted in him becoming the team’s second best tackler with 85. His progression alone should’ve warranted a nomination.
And if we are talking about progress and potential, I would add Quentin Lake and Tyree Thompson into the mix. Lake did a fantastic job filling in for Jaleel Wadood in the secondary while first-year transfer Thompson came on late as a bruiser among the linebackers. Both of them continued to show progress during spring and will help solidify the defense this fall.
Still, depsite not being honored, these Bruins are going to standout in 2019. Making a preseason award watchlist is nice, but it is nothing compared to winning the award at the end of the season. We’ll see if any of these five have what it takes to accomplish that feat.