LEXINGTON – University of Kentucky senior linebacker Josh Forrest has been named one of 80 players to the 2015 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, which annually honors college football’s Defensive Player of the Year, the Maxwell Football Club announced Tuesday.
Presented by the Maxwell Football Club, the award winner will be honored on Dec. 10, 2015 during The Home Depot College Football Awards, which will be aired live on ESPN. The awards show, which will have a new home at the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta, honors college football’s brightest stars for their performance both on and off the field.
The Bednarik Award was first presented in 1995. The award was named after Chuck Bednarik, who was a former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, and is also a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ‘69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ‘67.
The award’s watch list is headlined by 2014 winner Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright and features six of last year’s semifinalists. Last season’s runner-up for the award, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, joins other returning semifinalists, including Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun, Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman and Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Forrest, who was named third-team All-Southeastern Conference last season by Phil Steele CFB, led the Wildcats in tackles last year with 110, adding eight tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, two pass breakups, two quarterback hurries and one fumble forced. The native of Paducah ranked fourth in the conference in total tackles and 36th nationally, while sitting second in the league in solo tackles.
The season was a breakout year for Forrest, who entered 2014 with 29 career tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and zero sacks. Forrest had five double-figure tackle games on the year, including a career-high 20 against Tennessee – the first time a UK player had 20 or more tackles since 2012 — and an impressive 15 tackles in UK’s comeback win over South Carolina. Against Louisiana-Monroe, Forrest grabbed an interception and returned it for a touchdown.