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Two players give defense national spotlight

The defense on USF’s football team received national recognition as two players were added to national watch lists last week.

Redshirt senior linebacker Devekeyan “DeDe” Lattimore earned a spot on the Bednarik award watch list. Meanwhile, redshirt sophomore defensive end Aaron Lynch was added to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy
preseason watch list.

Throughout the season, their names are subject to drop off the list pending performance. Winners of the watch lists will be announced in early December – Bednarik on Dec. 5 and Nagurski on Dec. 9.

Chosen by the Maxwell Football Club, Lattimore joins the Bednarik list a year after making the 2012 Rotary Lombardi award watch list. He wasn’t a finalist for the award, but the 6-foot-1, 237-pound linebacker managed to shine on a defense that struggled in last year’s three-win season.

Starting in all 12 games, the Georgia native racked up 76 tackles last season while leading the team in tackles for a loss with 7.5.

While some eyes will be on Lattimore and his senior season performance, Lynch will also be getting looks while playing his first season as a Bull.

The 6-foot-6 defensive end sat out in 2012 due to transfer rules after he came to USF from Notre Dame.

With the Irish, Lynch played in 12 games, starting in six as a true freshman, and earned first-team Freshman All-America honors. In an impressive first year, he posted 33 tackles, seven for a loss, with 5.5 sacks.

Now in his second year on the field, Lynch has the chance to earn an award named after NFL Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik and Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski, who are known for their records playing in both college games and the NFL, both offensive and defensive. 

The Nagurski Award is given to the best defensive player of the year as well as having a Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week named each Tuesday throughout the season.

Each list has numerous names, and each award holds high honor – finalist or not, the recognition alone sheds light on a once
struggling defense that looks to turn things around in a new
conference this season.