Mizzou Football senior defensive end Michael Sam (Hitchcock, Texas) has been announced as a semifinalist for the 19th Chuck Bednarik Award for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. Currently the Southeastern Conference and national sacks leader with 10.0 to his credit, Sam was one of 16 candidates picked by the Maxwell Football Club National Selection Committee.

Sam’s outstanding All-America caliber season has included three multi-sack games, first with 3.0 sacks against Arkansas State (Sept. 28) and then following with two more 3.0-sack performances in Mizzou wins at Vanderbilt (Oct. 5) and vs. Florida (Oct. 19). The 3.0-sack stat line has only been accomplished 23 total times across the Football Bowl Subdivision. Sam also leads the SEC and nation in tackles-for-loss with his 16.0 total (2.00 per game).

League recognition has come in steadily for the Tiger defender, with Sam earning two SEC Defensive Line Player of the Week awards (Sept. 28, Oct. 5) and one SEC Defensive Player of the Week honor (Oct. 19). Sam is one of just two players from the SEC to be named a semifinalist.

The winner of the 19th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show which will be broadcast on ESPN on Dec. 12. Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 25, and a second round of voting will take place at that time. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Dinner on Feb. 28, 2014 in Atlantic City, N.J.

Semifinalist voting will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and close on Sunday, Nov. 24. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.

No. 10 Mizzou (7-1, 3-1) continues at home with SEC foe Tennessee (4-4, 1-3) on Saturday, Nov. 2, with kickoff at 6 p.m. on ESPN.