On Monday, Rutgers defensive lineman Aaron Lewis was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List. Its given annually by the Maxwell Football Club to the most outstanding defensive player in college football.
Lewis was previously named a Preseason First Team All-Big Ten selection by Pro Football Focus. Lewis is the second highest graded edge rusher in the conference returning for the 2023 season. Last season, Lewis was graded the No. 5 edge rusher in the Big Ten by PFF. He was also graded the No. 20 edge rusher in the college football. Pro Football Focus named him a Preseason First Team All-Big Ten selection because of his consistency as a disruptor with both the pass and run.
The New Jersey native and former Michigan transfer was an impact player for the Rutgers defense last fall. He had 55 tackles including eight for loss. Lewis also had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He posted a career high 11 tackles against Temple and had five games last season with at least five tackles. The coaches made Lewis a Third Team All-Big Ten while the media named him an Honorable Mention selection. Lewis was also voted Co-MVP of the Rutgers defense at the team banquet last winter.
With the hope that the Rutgers defense can take another step forward in the 2023 season, Lewis could be a force. He is arguably the best player on the team and the anchor for what could end up being a very good defensive line for Rutgers. With a deeper defensive line, opponents may choose not to double and triple team Lewis as often as last fall.
Previously, Rutgers tight end Johnny Langan was named to the John Mackey Award watch list. The award is annually given to the most outstanding tight end in college football. In addition, Rutgers football’s Tyreem Powell earned a spot on the Butkus Award watch list last week. The Butkus Foundation gives the award annually to the nation’s best linebacker.
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