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Auburn football: Dee Ford named to Bednarik Award watch list

Auburn's pass-rusher is in the early running for the award for college football's top defensive player.

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Auburn defensive end Dee Ford is one of 75 players named to the Bednarik Award preseason watch list, which was released Monday morning. The Bednarik Award is given out annually to college football's best defensive player.

The Tigers are hoping for big things from Ford this year. With Corey Lemonier gone to the NFL, the senior is Auburn's best defensive lineman and probably the best defensive player overall. At 6'2 and 238 pounds, Ford is slender, but he has great speed and can get into the backfield quickly. His athleticism paid off last year with six sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss and eight quarterback hurries.

While this is a nice honor for Ford -- and it's well deserved -- it's pretty unlikely he'll actually win the award. Even if he has a great season on the Plains this year, his best possible finish is probably No. 2. That's because one player on the watch list seems to be unbeatable.

Clowney

Nobody's beating Jadeveon Clowney, if for no other reason that the selection committee will be too scared to vote against him. Still, the nod for Ford shows what kinds of expectations exist for the veteran this season. Hopefully, he can live up to them.