Chuck Bednarik Award highlights Iowa DE Zach VanValkenburg
Fresh off being named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Week, Iowa defensive end Zach VanValkenburg is gaining some national traction as well.
VanValkenburg was named among eight players in the nation as “Who’s Hot” by the Chuck Bednarik Award. Given annually to the nation’s top player, the Chuck Bednarik Award is handed out by the Maxwell Football Club.
He was the only player from the Big Ten named to the weekly sizzle list for the Bednarik Award with a glowing write-up from the club for his performance a week ago. In a win at Minnesota, the VanValkenburg had five tackles including three sacks:
It was a long time coming, but Iowa has its first win of 2020. And for the sixth straight year, the Hawkeyes captured Floyd of Rosedale. Iowa dominated rival Minnesota, 35-7, pitching a shutout until there was 14 seconds left on the clock. And VanValkenburg was one of the defensive heroes. The former D-II transfer from Hillsdale College had three of his team’s four sacks, while sparking interest among NFL scouts.
Last year, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young was given the Bednarik Award after his strong junior season that he parlayed into becoming the second overall pick in the NFL Draft.
The season before that, Kentucky’s Josh Allen was named the recipient of the award following his outstanding season at Kentucky. The defensive end was a first round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2018 NFL Draft and was selected as an alternate to the Pro Bowl.
So it is pretty high praise for VanValkenburg to be getting some of this buzz given the prestige of the award.
The Maxwell Football Club also honors the nation’s top player with the Maxwell Award. In 2019, the recipient was LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, a transfer from Ohio State who would go on to become the first overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.