Blanding, Kiser, Edmunds get Bednarik recognition
Virginia senior safety Quin Blanding and senior linebacker Micah Kiser and Virginia Tech junior linebacker Tremaine Edmunds were among 86 players named Monday to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, given annually since 1995 to the top defensive player in college football.
Kiser and Blanding have finished one and two atop the ACC leader board in tackles the past two seasons.
Kiser led the league, and ranked fourth in the nation last season, with 11.2 tackles per game. Blanding finished second in the ACC and No. 9 in the nation with 10 tackles per game. He ranks No. 9 in U.Va. history with 358 career tackles.
Virginia is one of just four schools with multiple players on the watch list, a list that includes 18 ACC players, four from Florida State.
Edmunds ranked second on Tech with 106 tackles last season and tied for the team lead with 18½ tackles for loss.
Bednarik, who played at Penn and then with the Philadelphia Eagles, is in the college football and pro football halls of fame.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 30, and the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 20. The winner will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held Dec. 7. The formal presentations of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 9.
Monarchs’ Lawry named to Maxwell watch list
Old Dominion University senior running back Ray Lawry was named to the 2017 Maxwell Award watch list. The Maxwell Award is given annually to the college player judged to be the best in the nation by the Maxwell Football Club.
As a junior, Lawry led the Monarchs with a single-season school record 1,255 rushing yards, a harvest that included 11 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown.
A native of Logan Township, N.J., Lawry has set the Monarchs single-season record in each of his first three years, including his freshman season when he was named Conference USA freshman of the year.
He is seventh among active FBS running backs with 3,338 rushing yards and has scored 38 rushing touchdowns.
Liberty opens indoor facility
Liberty’s move toward FBS classification will be accompanied by the availability of a new indoor practice facility. The $29 million facility, which opened last month, includes a full-sized field and a ceiling with 70-foot clearance.
A $32 million, 60,000-square foot academic and performance center is expected to open when Liberty’s athletes return to campus for the start of the 2017-18 school year.
— Mike Barber