Oklahoma Sooners’ Nik Bonitto announced as national semifinalist for Bednarik Award

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Oklahoma redshirt junior outside linebacker Nik Bonitto has been terrorizing opposing offenses and quarterbacks all season long. Now, he’s earned the nod as one of the national semifinalists for the Bednarik Award.

On the season, Bonitto has recorded 28 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks, seven quarterback hurries and has recovered a pair of fumbles.

Bonitto’s best performances of the season came against Nebraska, Kansas State and Texas. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., product registered three tackles for loss and two sacks against the Cornhuskers.

Against Kansas State, Bonitto finished with a pair of tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Then, in the Red River Showdown against the Longhorns, Bonitto tallied 1.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks with three quarterback hurries.

The Chuck Bednarik Award is presented annually to the nation’s top defensive player in college football and Bonitto is the only Big 12 player represented as one of its semifinalists.

Georgia is the lone school with a pair of players that made the cut: defensive tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean.

The rest of the Bednarik Award semifinalists includes: Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr.; Auburn’s Roger McCreary; Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner; Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson; Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson; Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton; Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux; Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker; Purdue’s George Karlaftis; San Diego State’s Cameron Thomas; South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare; Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal; Utah’s Devin Lloyd; Wisconsin’s Leo Chenal; and Wyoming’s Chad Muma.

Teddy Lehman is the only Sooner to have won the Bednarik Award and that happened in the 2003 season.

Bonitto can impress in Oklahoma’s final three games at No. 13 Baylor, home against Iowa State and at No. 11 Oklahoma State.

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