GREENVILLE- (WNCT) East Carolina senior inside linebacker Zeek Bigger is one of 80 players named to the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, according to an announcement by the Maxwell Football Club Tuesday.
A preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection by Athlon Sports, Phil Steele Magazine and Sporting News, Bigger is the first Pirate to be named to the Bednarik Watch List, which is given annually to the College Defensive-Player-of-the-Year.
Bigger, who earned Second-Team All-AAC honors as a junior, led the American Conference and ranked ninth nationally with 10.8 tackles per game. The Gastonia, N.C. native registered a team and league-high 140 tackles and recorded double-digit stops on eight occasions, including a career-best 17 against in-state foe North Carolina. He also returned an interception 46 yards for a score against the Tar Heels helping him earn Walter Camp National Defensive-Player-of-the-Week honors.
During his three-year career, Bigger has tallied 235 stops (113 solo) with 8.0 TFLs, 1.5 sacks, nine pass breakups and five quarterback hurries to go along with three interceptions. He has started 23 of 39 career games, including all 13 a year ago, and has recorded multiple tackles on 30 occasions.
The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive-Player-of-the-Year since 1995. Chuck Bednarik, former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of ’69 and the NFL Hall of Fame’s Class of ’67.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced on Nov. 2, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 23. The winner will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 10 with a formal presentation made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Tropicana Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on March 11, 2016.
The Pirates will open the 2015 season at home against Towson inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Sept. 6 with a 6 p.m. (ET) scheduled kickoff.