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Kentucky’s J.J. Weaver on Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List

Photo: UK Athletics

Award is given to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player

LEXINGTON, Ky. August 15, 2023

Kentucky senior outside linebacker J.J. Weaver is on the watch list for the 29th Chuck Bednarik Award presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football, it was announced Monday by The Maxwell Football Club.

Weaver, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, is a veteran leader for the Wildcats’ defense this season. After considering entry into the 2022 NFL Draft, Weaver decided to return to Kentucky and build off a solid junior year that saw him play in 11 games with eight starting assignments. He totaled 47 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, a team-high 3.0 sacks, three quarterback hurries, a team-high three fumble recoveries, a team-high tying two forced fumbles and a blocked kick in 2022.

He is on track to graduate this December with a degree in community leadership and development.

The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1994 and is named in honor of Chuck “Concrete Charlie” Bednarik who was an All-American player at the University of Pennsylvania and later a multiple year All Pro linebacker and center for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and was the last NFL player to be a full-time player on both offense and defense.

Semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced Nov. 13, 2023, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 28, 2023. The winner of the 29thChuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 7, 2023. The formal presentations of the Chuck Bednarik Award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards in March 2024.

In 2018, UK defensive end Josh Allen was announced as the Bednarik winner, the school’s first, after emerging as one of the nation’s best pass rushers. He tabbed 88 tackles, including 21.5 tackles for loss and broke UK’s single-season sacks record with 17, helping lead the Wildcats to a 10-3 record and a win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.

The Wildcats begin the 2023 season on Sept. 2 in Kroger Field against Ball State. The Wildcats’ first three games of the season will be at home (vs. EKU on Sept. 9 and vs. Akron on Sept. 16). UK’s SEC home opener will be Sept. 30 vs. Florida.

UK is coming off a school record seventh straight bowl appearance, as the Cats finished the 2022 season with a 7-6 record. The Cats are 54-35 over the last seven seasons, including a 35-14 mark at Kroger Field.

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