Bubba Bolden needs more forced turnovers on Bednarik Watch list

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Miami Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden needs to create more turnovers in 2021 after being named as one of 80 players on the 2021 Bednarik Award Watch List. The Bednarik Award honors the best defensive player in college football each year and is presented by the Maxwell Football Club.

Miami quarterback D’Eriq King was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List on Monday honoring the most versatile player in college football. Bubba Bolden led with 74 tackles in 2020 and added 6.5 tackles for loss, one sack, four forced fumbles and three pass breakups, but only one interception.

For Bolden to move up the vast Bednarik Award Watch list, he is going to have to create more turnovers in 2021. Miami all-time leading tackler Dan Morgan is the only former Hurricanes player to earn the Bednarik Award. Morgan had the seventh-best season in tackles in Miami history with 138 during his 2000 Bednarik Award season.

Morgan finished his Miami career with 532 tackles. Bolden will have to have some big games to impress Bednarik Award voters. Morgan recorded 20 tackles in two games in 2000 and had 15 in six games. Bolden had three games with 10 or more tackles in 2020. Bolden had his only interception and sack against Florida State.

The double digit tackle games for Bolden came with 13 against North Carolina, 11 versus Louisville and 10 in the loss to Clemson. More consistency will also help Bolden in his quest to earn postseason awards and potentially become an All-American in 2021. Bolden had five games in 2020 with five or less tackles.

Bolden shared time last season with Gurvan Hall and Amari Carter. Bolden started nine games for Miami in 2021. Carter is expected to receive snaps at striker for Miami in 2021. Bolden and Hall will be the expected starters. Miami safeties have thrived in five seasons under Manny Diaz. Bolden has a chance to be the best.

Safeties have led Miami in tackles in four of the five seasons that Diaz has overseen the Hurricanes defense. Jaquan Johnson has the Miami season high in tackles by a safety with 96 in 13 games during the 2017 season. Bolden can reach 96 tackles in 2020. Bolden was slighly below Johnson’s 2017 average last season.

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Taking Bolden’s 2020 average, he would have recorded 87 tackles in the 13 games that Johnson played in 2017. Miami has 12 regular season games scheduled in 2021, plus a potential bowl game and with a special season, a trip to the ACC Championship Game. Bolden has a high ceiling for the 2021 season.