Two Bulldogs up for Bednarik award; Buhach star commits to Cal

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Hughes, Walker on watch list

PHILADELPHIA , Pa. – In winning a school record 12 games a year ago, the Fresno state football team leaned heavily on a defense that gave up the third fewest points per game in the country.

That defense lost five starters, but also returns two talented seniors who are getting some national attention.

Fresno State defensive back Juju Hughes and linebacker Mykal Walker were both named to the watch list for the 25th annual Chuck Bednarik Award on Monday, as announced by the Maxwell Football Club. The award has recognized the collegiate defensive player of the year since 1995, last honoring Kentucky’s Josh Allen in 2018.

The Bulldog duo represents one of 17 teams in the nation to have two individuals named to the 2019 watch list and is the only California team to have the distinction.

Hughes is a senior strong safety out of Hanford High School, who has started 28 consecutive games as a Bulldog.

He was named an All-Mountain West second team selection as a junior, after tying for the Mountain West lead with four interceptions in 2018.

He also tied for the fifth-most passes defended in the conference with 12 , and made 78 tackles in 2018.

Walker was moved to middle linebacker during spring practice, after being named an All-Mountain West first team selection, while registering the second-most tackles on the team as a junior at defensive end.

He was named the Defensive MVP of the 2018 Mountain West Championship game, after a performance that included 12 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in the win over Boise State.

A year ago, Jeff Allison (New York Jets) was named Fresno State’s first Bednarik watch list nominee since Derron Smith (Minnesota Vikings) in 2014.

Semifinalists for the Bednarik Award will be announced October 29, 2019, while the three finalists for each award will be unveiled November 25, 2019. The winners of the 2019 Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on December 12, 2019.

Buhach’s Paster commits to Cal

ATWATER, Ca. – Buhach Colony star defensive back Trey Paster made his college decision Sunday night, verbally committing to California Sunday night at a ceremony in Atwater.

Paster will be a senior this fall for the Thunder, and told the Merced Sun-Star he plans on enrolling at Cal in the spring after his high school senior season in the fall.

He’s listed as a three-star athlete by several of the major recruiting websites.

He also had offers from several other Pac-12 schools and Fresno State. Paster had trimmed his top five schools to five Pac-12 colleges in Cal, UCLA, Utah, Oregon and Washington on June 2.

“For me, it came down to the opportunity I really have there,” Paster told the Merced Sun-Star. “It’s the love I have for the coaches. It’s an amazing school, an amazing place, an amazing education… Why not? It’s always been Cal.”

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