UNC's football team is well represented on many of the various postseason award 'Watch Lists' that come out this time of year.
Particularly on defense, the Tar Heels are getting a lot of respect for the returning talent that they'll carry into the 2011 season.
Quinton Coples, Donte Paige-Moss and Kevin Reddick have been named to the 2011 Bednarik Award Watch List. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the nation's top defensive football player since 1995.
Former Tar Heel Julius Peppers won the award in 2001.
Coples earned first-team All-ACC honors last season at defensive tackle where he posted 59 tackles, 15.5 tackles for losses and 10.0 sacks.
A native of Kinston, N.C., he ranked third in the league and 16th in the country in sacks per game. He will return to his natural position of defensive end this fall.
A native of Jacksonville, N.C., Paige-Moss finished the 2010 campaign with 49 tackles, 13.5 tackles for losses and seven sacks. He posted 10.5 of his 13.5 tackles for losses in the second half of the season.
In the Tar Heels' 30-27 win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl, he had six tackles, 2.5 tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and blocked a kick.
Reddick, a native of New Bern, N.C., has led the team in tackles in each of the last two seasons. He had 74 tackles a year ago and posted six tackles for losses, two interceptions and five pass breakups.
He scored his first career touchdown with a 22-yard interception return in UNC's 41-10 win at Virginia.
A former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chuck Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of '69 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of '67.
Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced October 31st and the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 21st.
The winner of the 2011 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show held on December 8th. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala hosted by Harrah's Entertainment Atlantic City on March 2nd 2012.
Coples and Paige-Moss, along with teammates Zach Brown and Tydreke Powell, were named to the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Award watch list.
Senior linebacker Brown, a native of Columbia, Md., finished second on the team with 72 tackles despite starting just five games last year. He also was a special teams captain after earning the most points in Carolina's scoring system.
The Nagurski Award is presented annually to the nation's best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Carolina had four of the 14 ACC players on the Nagurski list, followed by FSU and Miami with three, Virginia Tech with two and Virginia and Maryland with one each.
Like Coples and Paige-Moss, Powell was also named to a second 'watch list,' as the senior defensive tackle has been named to the 2011 Outland Trophy Award watch list.
The Outland Trophy, presented annually since 1946, is the third oldest award in major college football and is given to the best interior lineman in college football, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
Powell, a native of Ahoskie, N.C., served as a team captain last year and was one of just two defensive players to start all 13 games. He finished the season with 47 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
The winner of the 66th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn and Kansas at the turn of the century, will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 8 on ESPN.
The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 12, 2012, in Omaha, Neb.
Two other UNC rising seniors, Casey Barth and Dwight Jones, have been named to 'Watch Lists' for awards at their various positions.
Barth has been named to the 2011 Lou Groza Award Watch List. The Lou Groza Award is presented annually to the nation's top kicker.
Barth, a native of Wilmington, N.C., is the ACC's active career leader with 50 field goals. Last season, he earned honorable-mention All-ACC honors after converting 19 of 22 field goal attempts, including a long of 49, as well as all 38 extra point attempts.
He owns the school record for most consecutive extra points made (currently at 71). He has not missed an extra point since the season opener in 2009.
Barth enters the 2011 season needing just five made field goals to pass his brother, Connor, to become UNC's career record holder. Connor, now a kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, finished his Carolina career with 54 field goals.
Casey has three game-winning kicks to his credit, including a 23-yarder vs. Tennessee in last season's Music City Bowl and a 21-yarder at Virginia Tech in 2009.
Wide receiver Dwight Jones has been named to the 2011 Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the nation's top wide receiver.
Jones, a native of Burlington, N.C., led the Tar Heels with 62 receptions for 946 yards in 2010. He earned honorable-mention All-ACC honors after finishing fourth in the league with 72.8 receiving yards per game.
Jones had four 100-yard receiving games a year ago, including a career-best 233 yards in the win at Florida State.
Over 100 Prominent journalists, commentators, announcers, and former players select the winner through a process audited by a CPA firm.
While the TQC Foundation Trustees manage the organization, they have no role in the winner's selection. The award is presented annually on the ESPNU College Football Awards Show.