Missouri defensive end Markus Golden was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list on Monday. The Bednarik Award is given yearly to the best defensive player in college football, so winning the award would certainly be a huge honor for the redshirt senior from Affton High School in St. Louis.
Golden has had an interesting path to get where he is now, but he’s never strayed from the path. He failed to qualify academically coming out of high school, and spent two years at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. After finally getting to Mizzou shortly before the beginning of the 2012 season, Golden played linebacker but ended up switching to defensive end before last season. He immediately became a big contributor, and though he only played on about 40 percent of Mizzou’s defensive snaps from scrimmage, he registered 55 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 13 tackles for loss.
Now that 2013 starting defensive ends Kony Ealy and Michael Sam have both departed to the NFL, Golden will step into a starting spot and be one of the leaders of the Tigers’ defense. He’s certainly got a chance to turn heads this year, and with his 6-foot-3, 260-pound frame and elite athleticism, he’s got definite NFL potential. ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranked him as the number 2 senior defensive end in the country heading into the 2014 season. Being productive enough to win the Bendarik Award would only increase his list of accolades as he prepares to become a pro.