June 26, 2007
University of Notre Dame linebacker Maurice Crum and safety Tom Zbikowski have both been named to the 2007 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday. The award has been presented annually to the top collegiate defensive player in the country since 1995.
Crum is coming off a breakthrough 2006 campaign in which he paced the Notre Dame defense with 100 tackles, becoming the first Irish defender since Courtney Watson in 2003 to hit the century mark in tackles. Crum's 100 tackles were the most by a player with eligibility remaining since Jimmy Friday tallied 109 in 1997.
Elected captain for the 2007 season by his teammates, Crum has also been named to the preseason watch list for the Lott Award and the Nagurski Trophy.
Zbikowski, an All-American candidate who returned for his fifth season at Notre Dame, earned second-team All-America accolades from the Walter Camp Football Foundation last year and was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press for the second straight season. He recorded 79 tackles with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on defense and averaged 9.0 yards on 16 punt returns with one touchdown return in 2006.
Zbikowski was chosen as a 2007 Notre Dame captain for the second-consecutive season and has received numerous preseason accolades including being named first-team preseason All-America by The Sporting News, Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. The Arlington Heights, Ill., native is considered the top strong safety in the nation by Sporting News and Phil Steele while ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper tabbed him the top senior safety in 2007. He was also named to the preseason watch list for the Nagurski Trophy and Lott Award.
The Maxwell Club sponsors the Bednarik Award and the winner is selected by the members of the Maxwell Football Club, NCAA sports information directors, head coaches and selected national media. Semifinalists for the Maxwell Award will be announced in early November and three finalists will be announced Nov. 26. The 2007 Maxwell Award announcement will be on Dec. 6 in Orlando, Fla., as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show. The formal presentation will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City in March 2008.