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Mazi Smith included on watch list for Bednarik Award

The senior lineman will play a huge role in Michigan’s defense.

2022 Big Ten Conference Football Media Days Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Less than a week after representing the Michigan Wolverines at Big Ten Media Day, senior defensive tackle Mazi Smith was named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award, given annually to college football’s best defensive player.

Smith enters this season as one of Michigan’s lone veteran players along the defensive line. He is anticipated to be one of Michigan’s best players on defense in 2022 after taking a modest step forward last season with 37 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and three quarterback hurries. He is also a very solid candidate to become one of Michigan’s captains for the upcoming season.

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This is the first preseason watch list Smith has made. Running back Blake Corum leads the team with five.

Other Big Ten players to make the watch list include Michigan State safety Xavier Henderson, Iowa cornerback Riley Moss, Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell, Indiana cornerback Tiawan Mullen, Nebraska linebacker Luke Reimer, Ohio State defensive lineman Zach Harrison, Ohio State safety Ronnie Hickman, Penn State cornerback Joey Porter, Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown and Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig.