Pitt defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman has emerged as one of the top defenders in the country this season, and as a result, his name was added to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list on Thursday. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club. Twyman joins Pitt safety Damar Hamlin on the list.
At the onset of the season, Twyman was listed as a backup behind Keyshon Camp at defensive tackle, but Camp’s season came to an end after he suffered a knee injury on Aug. 31. Since then, Twyman has distinguished himself as a leader on Pitt’s defense by accruing six sacks and seven tackles for losses in a span of six games.
Twyman’s sack and tackle-for-loss totals lead all ACC defensive linemen, and his average of one sack per game ranks 12th nationally. The 6’2”, 290-pound lineman also put on a three-sack performance against Ohio on Sept. 7, which was the first time a Pitt player had logged three or more sacks in one game since Nov. 21, 2015, when Pitt defensive end Ejuan Price recorded five sacks against Louisville.
In addition, the Washington, D.C., native has served as the anchor of a defense that ranks among the top 25 in the nation in sacks, tackles for losses, rushing defense and total defense. The Pitt defense has given up 298.7 yards per game in 2019, which ranks 21st overall among FBS teams.
The semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced on Oct. 29, and three finalists will be revealed on Nov. 25. The winner will be named on Dec. 12 during the College Football Awards, which will air on ESPN.