The Maxwell Football Club announced Monday that Kansas senior linebacker Ben Heeney was named to the 2014 Chuck Bednarik Award preliminary watch list.
Bestowed to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995, the Bednarik Award is named after Chuck Bednarik, a former defensive standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles whose name graces both the College Football and the NFL Hall of Fames.
Heeney, a senior from Hutchinson, Kan., missed a pair of games in the middle of the 2013 conference slate, but still finished with a team-best 88 total stops, including 11.5 tackles for loss and the first three interceptions of his career. Heeney, selected as an All-Big 12 Second Team selection by the Associated Press and the conference coaches last season, was fourth in the conference with 8.7 tackles per game and ranked fifth in tackles-for-loss per game with 1.15. He reached double figures in tackles in six of his 10 games played, including four Big 12 contests.
In 2012, Heeney burst on to the scene with 112 tackles in his first season as a starter for the Jayhawks. His 112 tackles included 66 solo stops. He led KU with 12.0 tackles-for-loss and added one sack. He also was credited with two pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.
The watch list includes 76 members hand-picked by the Maxwell Football Club's selection committee, which analyzes both past performance and future potential. Semifinalists for the award will be announced Nov. 3, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 24. The winners for the 2014 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 11.
Heeney and the rest of the Jayhawks begin the 2014 slate Sept. 6, as they play host to Southeast Missouri State. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m., inside Memorial Statdium.