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FSU defensive end Brian Burns the only Seminole on Bednarik Award Watch List

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99 joins a group of nearly that many.

NCAA Football: Independence Bowl-Southern Mississippi vs Florida State Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Junior Florida State pass rusher Brian Burns was named to the 2018 Bednarik Award Watch List today, a nod to those being considered for the prize bestowed upon the nation’s top defensive player, regardless of position.

These initial watch lists are always quite vast, and the Bednarik is no exception: 86 players are included, although Burns is the only ’Nole to make the cut. That’s not terribly surprising, since FSU does not return a single player from any of the three All-ACC defensive teams, or even an Honorable Mention, for that matter. Still, players like Levonta Taylor and Demarcus Christmas have garnered some nice off-season press.

Burns burst onto the scene as a true freshman for Florida State in 2016, when he tallied 9.5 sacks. He registered 4.5 sacks in 2017, but led the Seminoles with 13.5 tackles for loss. This should be a big season for Burns, who is playing in his “money year” for a new FSU defense that will emphasize pressuring the quarterback.

The most represented schools on the Bednarik Award Watch List: Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, and USC, all of which sport a trio of entries.