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Maryland football CB Will Likely named to Bednarik award watch list

He's the team's top returning starter on defense.

NCAA Football: Richmond at Maryland Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland football cornerback Will Likely has been named to the Bednarik award preseason watch list, the Maxwell Club announced Tuesday.

The Bednarik award is given to college football’s defensive player of the year. This is the third year in a row that Likely is on the award’s preseason watch list. He’s far from alone on this year’s list, which includes upwards of 90 names. View the full watch list here.

Likely has been named an All-Big Ten player in each of the last two seasons. In 2015, he finished with 44 tackles, four tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 11 pass breakups. As a sophomore in 2014, he tied for the Big Ten’s lead in interceptions (6) and pass breakups (15).

Likely is Maryland’s only returning starter in the secondary. He was named to the watch list for the Hornung award — given to the game’s most versatile player — before last season, and will likely be named to that watch list again in 2016.