Notre Dame senior linebacker Nyles Morgan has been named to the 2017 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List.
The Bednarik Award was first presented in 1995 and goes annually to the nation’s top defensive player.
Morgan led Notre Dame with 94 tackles and four sacks last season, his first as a full-time starter. Morgan added six tackles for loss and three pass break ups. Morgan had five games with at least 10 tackles, including three straight 10-tackle performances between Sept. 17 (Michigan State) and Oct. 1 (Syracuse).
The Crete, Ill. native set a career high with 13 tackles and nine solo stops in Notre Dame’s season opening loss to Texas.
This marks the third time Morgan has been named to the Bednarik Award Watch List. He was named to the list prior to the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Morgan was named to the Sporting News Freshman All-America Team and the Football Writers Association of American Freshman All-America team following the 2014 season. He racked up 47 tackles and 3.5 stops behind the line that season as a true freshman. Morgan started four games that fall but did not make a start in 2015. He became the leader of the Irish defense in 2016, starting all 12 games.
The senior was named a team captain for the 2017 season and is poised for a highly productive season in new defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s more aggressive system. Elko’s starting Mike linebacker in 2016 – Marquel Lee – racked up 105 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks last fall.
Former Notre Dame All-American Manti Te’o was the only Irish player to win the award, which he did in 2012.