Fifth-year senior defensive tackle Darius Hamilton was named to the Bednarik Award Preseason Watch List this afternoon. It is awarded annually to the top defensive player in college football and it is named after Chuck Bednarik, who is a member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame's.
Hamilton was named to last season's Bednarik Watch List, but played in just one game due to injury. It's nice to see his career work stand up for itself and for him to receive another nomination for the upcoming season. Hamilton is looking to close his Rutgers career on a high note. He was the defensive MVP for Rutgers in 2014 and was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the media. Entering his final season on the banks, Hamilton has accumulated 110 tackles, 10.5 sacks, and 24.5 tackles for a loss in his career. The former 5-star recruit and Don Bosco Prep star has been working hard to prepare for his senior season.
Strength and conditioning coach Kenny Parker has been working with the Rutgers football team since the beginning of 2016. While Hamilton has been recovering from his leg injury during most of that time, he did participate in most of spring practice and offseason workouts. Improving his size and strength was a need for Hamilton, who has been considered small and undersized for his position, especially in the Big Ten conference. However, take a look at this picture from the team having fun at the beach last Friday. Hamilton is in the front row on the far right wearing the black t-shirt with white print. He is considerably bigger in his upper body, which is an exciting prospect for Rutgers fans regarding his potential impact this fall.
Rutgers invades the beach. Great start to the Holiday weekend. pic.twitter.com/qNNpygUnoj— Chris Ash (@CoachChrisAsh) July 1, 2016
Overall, the Big Ten had 16 nominees named to the Bednarik Watch List. For the full list of nominees, click here. The semifinalist's for the award will be named on October 31st. The three finalists will be announced on November 21st, with the winner being named on December 8th.
Hamilton will be a huge key to the success of the Rutgers defense this season. He should also be expected to be named a team captain for the third time. His relationship with the new coaching staff and positive attitude during the transition this offseason has been very important. He is expected to participate in full activities once training camp begins in August. Getting off to a fast start in 2016 will be imperative for both Hamilton and Rutgers. He has been a great player and a class act during his time on the banks, so being named to the Bednarik Watch List is hopefully one of many good things to happen to Darius this season!
Congrats to Darius Hamilton being named Bednarik Award watch list! pic.twitter.com/49CEuqfxdw— Chris Ash (@CoachChrisAsh) July 5, 2016