ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith has been named one of three finalists for the 2017 Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player.
Smith, a native of Montezuma, Ga., joins North Carolina State’s Bradley Chubb and Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick as finalists.
The winner of the 23rd Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on December 7. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Gala, which will be held at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J., on March 9, 2018.
Former Bulldog All-American David Pollack is the only Georgia player to ever win the Bednarik Award. Smith is already a finalist for the Butkus Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
Smith, a midseason All-American, is on pace to lead the Bulldogs in tackles for the second consecutive season with 91 stops through 11 games (8.3 tackles/game) and has one of the team’s eight forced fumbles. He has directed a defense that is ranked as one of the country’s best in Scoring Defense (14.4 pts./game, fourth nationally), Total Defense (276.1 yds./game, fifth nationally), Rushing Defense (105.6 yds./game, sixth nationally) and Pass Defense (170.5 yds./game, 10th nationally).
The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (10-1, 7-1 SEC) travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-4 ACC) on Saturday in Bobby Dodd Stadium. ABC will televise the matchup at 12 p.m.