Notre Dame senior defensive end tandem of Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson were named preseason candidates for the 2011 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Lewis-Moore and Johnson are one of three sets of teammates to appear on the list of 35 players. The other two are North Carolina's Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss; and USC's Wes Horton and Nick Perry.
University of Michigan football senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen was also named to the list; which honors the nation's top defensive end.
A three-year letterman and two-year starter, Van Bergen started 13 games in 2010 and recorded 37 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. He has started 26 of 37 career games, totaling 90 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, nine sacks, one fumble recovery and six pass breakups. Vince Browne of Northwestern also made the list.
Getting back to South Bend, also coming on board are freshman pass-rushers Ishaq Williams, Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch -- the 6-foot-6, 260-pound beast from Cape Coral, Fla., whose seven tackles, 1.5 TFL performance was the talk of the spring game. It'll be interesting to see how ND gets all their talented DEs from this highly rated recruiting class out on the field. Williams, and perhaps others, might see some time at outside linebacker. It's quite common for defensive ends to move to OLB when they make the jump from college football to the NFL. Why not do it at this transition level too?
The final mid-season watch list will be announced in November. The 2011 winner will be announced on Dec. 7.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter
Tags: aaron lynch, aaron lynch irish, aaron lynch nd, aaron lynch notre dame, Brian Kelly, college football, college football freshmen, ethan johnson, Fighting Irish football, fighting irish freshmen, freshmen defensive ends, kapron lewis-moore, nd football, Notre Dame, notre dame defense, notre dame football, ryan van bergen, ted hendricks, ted hendricks award, top college football freshmen