University of Hawai’i linebacker Jahlani Tavai was one of 86 players selected to the 23rd annual Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to college football’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Tavai, a junior from Inglewood, Calif., is the first UH defender selected to the preseason watch list since Solomon Elimimian in 2008. Last season, Tavai earned first-team all-Mountain West honors after leading the league with 19.5 tackles-for-loss while his 129 total tackles tied for eighth most in program history.
Tavai is one of four Mountain West players on the list including Boise State nose tackle David Moa, Nevada defensive end Malik Reed, and Wyoming safety Andrew Wingard.
Bednarik, a former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ’69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ’67.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced Oct. 30, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 20. The winner of the 2017 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 7. The formal presentations will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 9, 2018.