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Aaron Lewis named to Bednarik Award watch list

The Scarlet Knight defensive lineman is expected to be a force in 2023.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers defensive lineman Aaron Lewis has been named to the Bednarik Award watch list. This award is given to the nation’s best defensive player each year.

Lewis is a New Jersey native that initially committed to Michigan. After spending a short amount of time in Ann Arbor as a freshman, he decided to return home and transfer to Rutgers. Now, Lewis is expected to take the next step in the Big Ten after a breakout campaign in 2022.

Last season, Lewis finished with 55 tackles, eight for loss. He added 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Lewis was named Third Team All-Big Ten by coaches.

According to Pro Football Focus, Lewis was graded as the fifth-best edge rusher in the Big Ten last season and 20th overall at the position in the nation. The Scarlet Knights are expected to have a strong defense this season and it begins with Lewis.

Rutgers now has three players named to preseason watch lists. Lewis joins Johnny Langan (Mackey Award) and Tyreem Powell (Butkus Award). Lewis has also been named Preseason First Team All-Big Ten by Pro Football Focus and to the Shrine Bowl 1000.