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Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot named to 2016 Ted Hendricks Award Watch List

This is Smoot’s second watch list of the preseason.

Northwestern v Illinois Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Fighting Illini football’s Dawuane Smoot was named to the 2016 Ted Hendricks Award Watch List on Friday morning. The senior is one of 28 players under consideration for the honor, which is given to the nation’s top defensive end. Smoot figures to be the anchor of Illinois’ strong front-four after recording 8.0 sacks and 40.0 tackles (15.0 TFLs) in 2015.

Smoot joins Tyquan Lewis (Ohio State) and Chris Wormley (Michigan) as one of three Big Ten players on the initial list. Whitney Mercilus (2011) is the only member of the Fighting Illini to take home the award since its creation in 2002.

Here’s a bit more information on the Hendricks Award:

The Ted Hendricks Award is named in honor of college football’s first three-time first-team All- American. As a defensive end at the University of Miami, Ted used his agility, height and reach to block passes and kicks, force interceptions and pressure quarterbacks and running backs. He roamed the front line, read plays and blitzed on impulse, completely transforming the way the defensive end position was played. His professional career spanned 15 years and 215 consecutive games. It included four Super Bowl victories, eight Pro Bowl selections and inductions into the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. It is in the spirit of Ted Hendricks’ aggressive style of play, winning attitude and determination that the Defensive End of the Year Award for college football’s premier defensive end is presented.

On-field performance, exceptional winning attitude, leadership abilities, contributions to school and community and academic preparedness are some of the criteria used to determine the Award’s winner. Members of the national media, head coaches, professional scouts and former winners are included in the Award’s voting committee.

Smoot was also named to the 2016 Bednarik Award Watch List (top defensive player) in July. The preseason recognition makes sense for the 6-foot-3 lineman because he’s an early candidate to become Illinois’ next First Round pick

Dawuane Smoot Highlights