Missouri Tigers defensive end Marcell Frazier is one of the many earlier candidates for the Bednarik Award.
This week, Missouri Tigers defensive end Marcell Frazier was one of 85 players named to the initial watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which on an annual basis is given to the best defensive player in college football, as voted on by NCAA head coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club, and media members across the country. In the 22 years that the award has been given out, it has never been awarded to a Mizzou player, so Frazier will certainly have some motivation to go out and win it this year.
Frazier, a 6-foot-5, 265-pounder who was a JuCo transfer from College of Siskiyous before the 2015 season, broke out in a major way over the second half of the 2016 campaign. After losing his starting spot to freshman Walter Brady in 2015 and then getting beat out by walk-on Jordan Harold to begin 2016, Frazier grabbed the bull by the horns and took back his starting job by the sixth week of the season.
Frazier ended up with 7.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss, 33 total tackles, two pass breakups, and four quarterback hurries. On most defensive lines around the country, he would have been the most productive player, but he instead played in the shadow of his opposite end, Charles Harris, who ended up being the Miami Dolphins’ first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Frazier will head into this year’s fall camp as a starter and will be expected to anchor the Tigers’ defensive line. Whether he does so as the Tigers shake up their defense is yet to be seen, but it’s nice to see Frazier getting some national recognition before the season even begins.