Pitt safety Damar Hamlin has been named to the watch list for the 2019 Chuck Bednarik Award, given annually to the best defensive player in college football. The Bednarik Award is judged by the members of the Maxwell Football Club, who also vote for the Maxwell Award for player of the year. It is named after former Penn and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker and center Chuck Bednarik, a member of the college and pro football halls of fame.
Hamlin, a senior, started all 14 games for Pitt in 2018, led the team with 90 tackles and tied for the team lead with two interceptions. The McKees Rocks native and Central Catholic grad also had three tackles for loss, six passes defended and a fumble recovery.
He is expected to be one of the lynchpins of a defensive secondary that also returns starters Dane Jackson and Jason Pinnock at cornerback. The Panthers finished 36th in passing yards allowed per game in 2018, their best mark under head coach Pat Narduzzi.
Only one Pitt player has won the Bednarik Award: defensive lineman Aaron Donald in 2013. Last year, Kentucky defensive end Josh Allen won the award.