PHILADELPHIA, Pa. –– The University of Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins was named today as one of 3 finalists for the 26th Chuck Bednarik Award given to the nation’s Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year, it was announced by Maxwell Football Club Executive Director Mark Wolpert.
Joining Collins as a 2020 Chuck Bednarik Award finalist is Notre Dame senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Alabama junior cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
A 6’4″ junior from Hominy, Okla., Collins has totaled 53 tackles, 11.5 TFLs for -49 yards, 4 sacks for -25 yards, 4 interceptions for 152 return yards, 2 TDs off INTs, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, as well as one safety. Two of his interceptions were game-clinchers, including a pickoff against #19 SMU that ended any possible final scoring drive for the Mustangs and his pick-6 in overtime against Tulane that he took 96 yards for the game-winning score.
Collins was unanimously chosen as the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player in league history to earn unanimous player-of-the-year honors, while also earning first-team all-league merits. He is also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and on Monday was named the runner-up for Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker,
Collins was named the Bednarik Award’s National Player of the Week for his season-opening performance against the No. 11-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. In that game, Collins recorded six tackles, all solos, with four of those for losses totaling 24 yards, including 3 sacks for -16 yards.
He later was named the National Defensive Player of the Week for two additional games, earning the honor once each from the Bronko Nagurski Award and the Walter Camp Foundation.
The winner of the 26th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on January 7, 2021.
2020 Chuck Bednarik Award Finalists
Finalist School Position Class
Zaven Collins Tulsa Linebacker RS Junior
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Notre Dame Linebacker Senior
Patrick Surtain II Alabama Defensive Back Junior
COURTESY TULSA ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS & BEDNARIK AWARD