2015 Preseason Award Projections: Hendricks Award

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2015 college football season, WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises, and the next fall’s stars could be the headline players next May for the 2016 NFL Draft. We also will project the winners of the postseason awards that are given out to the best of college football.

The Ted Hendricks Award is given to the best defensive end in college football. Last year’s winner was Utah defensive end Nate Orchard.

Hendricks Award Winner:

Joey Bosa, Ohio State

Orchard was definitely worthy of winning the Hendricks Award last year as he had a bigger sack total, but if the award committee has chosen Bosa, nobody would have criticized that selection. Bosa was a dominant force for the Buckeyes in 2014 and was the defensive cornerstone for the National Champs. He recorded 55 tackles with 13.5 sacks, 21 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and pass defended. Bosa simply lived in opponents’ backfields.

The 6-foot-5, 285-pounder has quickness to go with natural strength. Don’t be surprised if Bosa has a massive 2015 season even though teams will be selling out to stop him, including steady double-teams. He is just that much better than the competition. This will be Bosa’s final season of college football, and I think the Hendricks Award will want to reward him.

Hendricks Award Runner-Up:

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Jadeveon Clowney won this award as a sophomore in 2012, and Garrett could easily do that in 2015. Garrett took college football by storm last year as he was an impact defender for the Aggies from Day 1. The fast and athletic Garrett was a force on the edge as a quarterback hunter. He had 11.5 sacks with 53 tackles and 14 for a loss. Garrett is a natural pass rusher and looks destined to turn into a high first- round pick.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder has a ton of natural talent and upside. The scary part for the opposition is Garrett could be even better after gaining a year of experience. As long as double-teams aren’t overwhelming, Garrett could be in store for a massive year, and he is a real favorite to win the Hendricks Award.

Hendricks Award Dark Horse:

Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

Ogbah broke out for the Cowboys in 2014 with 11 sacks, 49 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and five passes batted. He has quickness to go with strength and made a lot of plays in the backfield. Ogbah isn’t a pure speed rusher or quick twitch, but he has power, plays the run well and has a good motor. As a freshman in 2013, Ogbah recorded four sacks and 20 tackles while rotating into the game. Double-teams will come his direction, but the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder should produce well as a junior due to the Big XII being a pass-happy conference. If Ogbah can build on his play from last year, he could be a candidate to win the Hendricks Award.

Honorable Mentions: Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche, Baylor’s Shawn Oakman, Oregon’s DeForest Buckner, Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun, Florida’s Jonathan Bullard, Oklahoma’s Charles Tapper, Tennessee’s Derek Barnett, Alabama’s Da’Shawn Hand, Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes, Auburn’s Carl Lawson, Virginia Tech’s Dadi Nicolas, Utah’s Hunter Dimke, Wyoming’s Eddie Yarbrough, Florida’s Bryan Cox Jr., Louisville’s Devonte Fields, Cincinnati’s Silverberry Mouhon, Auburn’s DaVonte Lambert, Minnesota’s Theiren Cockran and Clemson’s Shaq Lawson.

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