We're kicking off our preseason watch list coverage with a super...Star* Robenson Therezie. The senior is one of 76 players making the cut for the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list. Given to the nation's top defensive player as determined by the Maxwell Football Club, the list boasts stout competition, such as three of last year's semifinalists, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley, Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and USC defensive end Leonard Williams. Alabama and Georgia lead the SEC with three players each on the list.
Coming into the 2013 season, Therezie was set as Justin Garrett's backup at the hybrid star position, but foot injuries forced Garrett to miss most of the season, including the opener against Washington State. Therezie earned his first collegiate start and made name for himself**, with two interceptions and seven tackles.
Two interceptions in one game? The 2012 team had two interceptions all season.
A 78-yard interception returned for a touchdown in the first quarter against Ole Miss was the eighth longest in school history. By the end of the season, Therezie had racked up 57 tackles and led the team in interceptions (four). Coaches gave him the Zeke Smith Award as the team's defensive player of the year.
Despite breaking a bone in his hand this spring, Therezie continued to practice, even catching punts. But, could there be some shuffling in the secondary, as a healthy Garrett seeks playing time? Lucky for Therezie and Garrett, Coach Ellis Johnson gives his defensive backs practice time at all positions in the secondary.
To be the first Auburn player to win the Bednarik Award, Therezie will need to build on his breakout season and then some. But, this Star could be up to the task.
*Yeah, that was cheesy.
**Including the excellent "Easy, breezy, beautiful Robenson Therezie" as coined by @FearlessandTrue