DURHAM, N.C. – Duke redshirt sophomore linebacker Joe Giles-Harris has been named one of 18 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, an honor presented annually to the nation’s top defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club.
A 6-2, 230-pound native of Nyack, N.Y., Giles-Harris has compiled 86 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, one caused fumble, four pass breakups and five quarterback pressures through nine games this season. In the ACC, he ranks first in total tackles, tied for second in tackles for loss and tied for 16th in sacks.
Giles-Harris, who earned ACC Linebacker of the Week honors following a 15-tackle, 3.5-tackle for loss performance at Virginia, spearheads a Duke defensive unit that ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring defense (20.6) and fifth in the league in total defense (340.2). He has carded at least six tackles in all nine games while reaching at least eight stops in eight contests.
Giles-Harris is one of five ACC players named to the list, joining Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence, Florida State’s Derwin James, N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb and Wake Forest’s Duke Ejiofor. The remaining 13 semifinalists include Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama, Roquan Smith of Georgia, Ed Oliver of Houston, Josey Jewell of Iowa, Josh Jackson of Iowa, Maurice Hurst of Michigan, Jeffery Simmons of Mississippi State, Sutton Smith of Northern Illinois, Nick Bosa of Ohio State, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo of Oklahoma, Harrison Phillips of Stanford, Vita Vea of Washington and Hercules Mata’afa of Washington State.
A season ago, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen was the recipient of the Bednarik Award.
The winner of the 23rd Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, which will be broadcasted live on ESPN on December 7. The formal presentation of these awards will be made at the Maxwell Football Club's Awards Dinner on Friday, March 9, 2018, at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.