Maualuga, Mays Named Bednarik, Thorpe Finalists

Nov. 24, 2008

USC linebacker Rey Maualuga has been named one of three finalists for the 2008 Chuck Bednarik Award, while safety Taylor Mays has been selected among three finalists for the Thorpe Award.

The Bednarik Award is presented to the nation's top defensive player by the Maxwell Football Foundation and the Jim Thorpe Award goes to the nation's top defensive back by the Jim Thorpe Association.

Joining Maualuga as Bednarik finalists are Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis and Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin. Tennessee safety Eric Berry and Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins are fellow Thorpe Award finalists with Mays.

The winners of both awards will be announced at The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards show live on ESPN on Dec. 11 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET. The show, hosted by ESPN's Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, will originate from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's Boardwalk at the Walt Disney World Resort. It features the live presentation of nine awards, along with the recipients of Disney's Spirit Award, The Home Depot Coach of the Year Award, the NCFAA (National College Football Awards Association) Contributions to College Football Award and student-athletes selected to the Walter Camp All-America Team.

The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Red Carpet Show, hosted by ESPNU's Lowell Galindo and Tom Luginbill with Mike Gleason and Melissa Knowles reporting, will air on ESPNU from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and following the show at 9:30 p.m.

The Bednarik Award will officially be presented at a March dinner in Atlantic City, while the Thorpe Award banquet is Feb. 9 in Oklahoma City.

Maualuga, a 2-time All-Pac-10 first teamer who is also a 2008 Lombardi Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist, leads USC with 66 tackles and has also intercepted two passes (including a 48-yarder for a touchdown in a victory over Ohio State).

Mays, a 2007 All-American first teamer, has 46 tackles and 7 breakups in 2008.

The duo spearheads a USC defense that is ranked second nationally in total defense, first in scoring defense, sixth in rushing defense, and first in pass defense and pass efficiency defense. The Trojans have allowed just 10 touchdowns in 2008 and 83 total points (only 19 points in second halves of games), and have posted three shutouts. Eight of USC's 10 opponents in 2008 have been limited to 100 or less rushing yards and under 250 total yards.

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