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Julian Blackmon and Bradlee Anae named to the Bednarik Award watch list

NCAA Football: Heart of Dallas Bowl-Utah vs West Virginia Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to defense and watch lists, Utah’s always going to be well represented. The Utes come out the gate strong on the Bednarik Award watch list for the nation’s best defensive player. Two Utah players were named to the list with Bradlee Anae, Utah’s defensive end, and Julian Blackmon, a junior DB, were both named to the list.

Both of these guys are poised to have big years, with both of them really bursting onto the scene last season. Anae is shaping up to be like other Mayors of Sack Lake City with his ability to rush the passer. The key for him is health. He was a bit banged up last season that really kept him from taking off. His speed and bull rush ability are impressive coming from the outside, and should hopefully get the Utah defensive line back where we normally seeing them, after a little bit of a down year.

Blackmon is arguably the leader of a very deep and talented secondary. He, like Anae, really jumped onto the scene last season after a year of defending some of the best wide outs in the Pac-12. In this league, corners can make big names for themselves, and Blackmon is ahead of the curve with a great sophomore season behind him. If he can take another step, he’ll be NFL material if not this season, then next.