UCF defensive lineman and preseason All-American Bruce Miller (Canton, Ga.) on Monday afternoon was named to the national Watch List for the Bednarik Award by the Philadelphia-based Maxwell Football Club.
The Bednarik Award has been presented since 1995 to the nation’s top defensive player and is named for College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Bednarik.
The 2009 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and the 2010 C-USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Miller had previously been named to the national Watch Lists for the Nagurski Trophy and the Lombardi Trophy.
The nation’s leader in both career sacks (27) and career tackles for loss (44), Miller has all ready been named to several preseason All-America teams. In fact, Miller’s 27 career sacks tie Florida’s Alonzo Johnson for the ninth-most ever by a FBS player in the college football-rich state of Florida, a list that includes six first round NFL Draft picks. Lindy’s preseason annual listed him as Conference USA’s top NFL prospect, ahead of even Heisman Trophy candidate Case Keenum of Houston.
Miller made 13 sacks and 18 tackles for loss last year as a junior. He ranked fifth in the nation in sacks in 2009. A versatile end who also moved to tackle and played a three-technique in UCF’s nickel package, Miller also was credited with seven forced hurries and three pass breakups last fall, helping the Knights lead C-USA in total defense, rushing defense, scoring defense, sack and tackles for loss. UCF was fourth in the nation last fall in rushing defense, topped only by BCS bowl participants Texas, Alabama and TCU.
Returning 17 starters from that team, UCF is a popular pick to win the C-USA East Division in 2010. The Sporting News is one of several publications which have made that choice, in the process ranking UCF No. 47 in the nation heading into the season. Miller spearheads a defense that returns most of its core after leading C-USA in total and rushing defense last fall in addition to sacks and TFLs.