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Taiwan Mullen on Bednarik watch list

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Mike Schumann
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Here is the full release from IU:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – One of the top defensive backs in college football, Indiana football senior Tiawan Mullen has been named to the preseason watch list for the Bednarik Award, which is presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club.

Mullen appears on the Bednarik watch list for the third straight season, even after an injury-riddled 2021 season that saw him start the first four games and then seeing just 23 snaps the rest of the year. He totaled 19 tackles and three pass breakups in 2021, which included a career-high nine tackles against Idaho. All three pass breakups came at Western Kentucky, where he was the highest-graded Big Ten defensive back per PFF and led the FBS in forced incompletions (5).

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native earned All-America accolades in each of his first two seasons on campus and is a two-time All-Big Ten performer. In 2021, Mullen was the first cornerback in program history to earn first-team All-America honors (FWAA, Phil Steele) and just the second cornerback (Tim Wilbur, 1980; second team) in school history to achieve All-America status. His first-team selection made him the first Hoosier since offensive lineman Dan Feeney (2015, 2016) to claim first-team recognition.

Mullen was also the program's first cornerback to card first-team All-Big Ten honors since Tracy Porter (2007) after he made 38 tackles, 27 solo, with 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, one forced fumble, four pass breakups, and one quarterback hurry in eight games. He led all Big Ten defensive backs in sacks (T-12th overall) and TFLs, and shared No. 6 overall in interceptions.

The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1994 and is named in honor of Chuck "Concrete Charlie" Bednarik who was an All-American player at the University of Pennsylvania and later a multiple year All-Pro linebacker and center for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and was the last NFL player to be a full-time player on both offense and defense.

The Bednarik Award watch list will once again incorporate a broad spectrum of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs and conferences from coast to coast, led by Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama) who is the lone returning finalist from 2021, as the majority of this year's candidate group features fresh faces. The full list consists of 90 players with Alabama, Clemson and Georgia having 3 candidates each and an additional 9 schools having two players represented.

Last year's Chuck Bednarik Award winner was Jordan Davis (Georgia) who went on to be the 1st round selection of the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2022 NFL Draft. Davis joins Georgia great David Pollack (2004) as the Dawgs second Bednarik Award recipient.

The Maxwell Football Club has once again partnered with Pro Football Focus (PFF), XOS and Phil Steele Publications as selection committee partners. PFF provides detailed metrics and performance-based assessments to selection committee staff, and several senior PFF analysts are members of our selection committee. Phil Steele's College Football Preview is generally recognized as the most complete preseason magazine. XOS provides the Maxwell Club selection committee with access to game footage from all FBS colleges.

Semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced November 1, 2022, while the three finalists will be unveiled November 22, 2022. The winners will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 8, 2022. The formal presentations of the award will be made at the 86th Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala on March 10, 2023, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The Maxwell Football Club was founded in 1935 and is the oldest football organization of its kind in America. The Club recognizes excellence in performance at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of the game. The Maxwell Club is also deeply involved and fully vested in the community through programs to promote academic excellence, community volunteerism, and leadership. High school student-athletes around the country have an opportunity to participate in MFC Showcase events, free of charge, through the generosity of our corporate partners, Ivy Rehab, SAFR, the ETC Foundation and the Run Around Inc.

Indiana Football 2022 Preseason Watch Lists
AFCA Good Works Team – Jack Tuttle
Doak Walker Award – Shaun Shivers
Wuerffel Trophy – Jack Tuttle
Paul Hornung Award – D.J. Matthews Jr.
Bednarik Award – Tiawan Mullen