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Dorm Report: Getting defensive

By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Football Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It isn't just on the offensive side of the ball that the college football world dishes out hardware for exemplary efforts.

The following awards are the most coveted and prestigious for players that makes stops on Saturdays, as well as the best in special teams performance.

A year ago Notre Dame's Manti Te'o filled his trophy case with a lot of these awards. Now its time to forecast the 2013 season.

DICK BUTKUS AWARD - C.J. Mosley, Alabama

Nick Saban has achieved a dynasty in Tuscaloosa over the last few seasons, as Alabama has hung its hat on dominant defense year after year. A big part of that has been the play of the Crimson Tide's linebacking corps. Names like Rolando McClain and Dont'a Hightower come to mind. Mosley should be on that list and if he isn't yet, he will be after this season. A year ago Mosley was a unanimous First-Team All-American, while also being named to the All-SEC First-Team. In a conference filled to the brim with disruptive defenders, Mosley is a versatile linebacker that excels in coverage. Though his numbers may not leap of the page (107 tackles, 8.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks) there is no doubt Mosley is at the top of his class.

RUNNER UP - Anthony Barr, UCLA

DARK HORSE - Kyle Van Noy, BYU

JIM THORPE AWARD - Bradley Roby, Ohio State

The hype surrounding the Buckeyes entering this season is at an absolute fever pitch. A huge part of that anticipation is the return of the explosive Bradley Roby. The 5-foot-11 cornerback was one of several defenders for Urban Meyer's unit that helped the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record. Roby is a shut-down corner that covers ground quickly and anticipates well. He showed that plenty of times a year ago, en route to being named a semifinalist for this same award. In 2012 Roby led the Buckeyes with 19 passes defended while also collecting a pair of interceptions. Roby also doesn't shy away from making hits as he ranked third for the Buckeyes in tackles with 62, 41 of which were solo. He was recently arrested for an altercation at bar in Bloomington, Indiana and subsequently did not attend the Big Ten media event in Chicago. As long as he doesn't miss any playing time this year as a result, he remains the favorite for this award.

RUNNER UP - Jason Verrett, TCU

DARK HORSE - Calvin Pryor, Louisville

VINCE LOMBARDI/ROTARY AWARD - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

This award goes to the nation's most outstanding offensive or defensive end- to-end down lineman or any linebacker who sets up no farther than five yards from the line of scrimmage. A defensive linemen has not won the award since 2010 (Auburn's Nick Fairley), but that drought should end this year in the form of South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney. Considered by many as the best player in college football, last year's Hendricks Award winner (best defensive end) is the odds on favorite, Clowney is as close to a sure thing to collect any and all defensive awards he is nominated for, as there has been in recent memory. A unanimous All-American in 2012, Clowney surprised some by returning to school but that should just work into the Gamecocks' favor.

RUNNER UP - C.J. Mosley, Alabama

DARK HORSE - Will Sutton, Arizona State

BRONKO NAGURSKI AWARD - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

If 2013 works out how just about any person with an ounce of knowledge on college football thinks, the 2013 campaign will be dominated by one name; Clowney. An absolutely ferocious defensive end, Clowney already projects as the No. 1 pick in next year's NFL Draft and with another year under his belt, will lay waste to the challenging SEC. Though Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o stole the headlines a year ago, Clowney still made a ton of noise out of Columbia with 13.0 sacks and an astounding 23.5 tackles for loss. The Nagurski award has gone to a lineman five times since it was first awarded in 1993. Clowney will make that number grow to six.

RUNNER UP - C.J. Mosley, Alabama

DARK HORSE - Jason Verrett, TCU

CHUCK BEDNARIK - Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

The Chuck Bednarik Award does not have a history of being handed to defensive linemen. Only Ndamukong Suh and Julius Peppers can claim the honor since the award's inception in 1995. That won't matter for Clowney assuming he can shoulder the pressure that the offseason hype as laid on his shoulders. At 6- foot-6 and 274 pounds, Clowney certainly has the build to hold up against just about any test. Perhaps the best person to ask about Clowney's ability as a defender is former Michigan running back Vincent Smith. The now iconic hit Smith took from Clowney in the backfield during the Outback Bowl was replayed on highlight shows for months on end and has just fueled the fire surrounding Clowney.

RUNNER UP - C.J. Mosley, Alabama

DARK HORSE - Kyle Van Noy. BYU

LOU GROZA AWARD - Cairo Santos, Tulane

Its pretty easy to see why Santos should be the favorite for this award this season. Santos already has a Groza Award in his trophy case. In a stellar 2012 campaign, Santos went a perfect 21-for-21 on field goals, while knocking in all but one of 27 PAT attempts. Santos wasn't just hitting chip shots. Of his 21 field goals made, a national-best 12 came from beyond 40 yards, including a school-record 57-yard bomb. Perhaps the biggest obstacle Santos faces is precedence, as there has not been a back-to-back winner of this award since Sebastian Janikowski in 1998-99.

RUNNER UP - Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson

DARK HORSE - Jeremiah Detmer, Toledo

RAY GUY AWARD - Kyle Christy, Florida

Christy was a semifinalist for this award last season but watched it go to Louisiana Tech's Ryan Allen, who led the nation in punting average. Of the top five punters in terms of average per boot last season, only Christy (45.8) remains in the college ranks. That puts the 6-foot-2 junior at the top of the front-runner list for the Ray Guy Award. Christy's punt average in 2012 set a school record while he is also in the program's history books for the highest yards-per-punt average (54.3) in a single game after his effort against South Carolina next season. Christy's numbers were certainly impressive and enough to earn him All-SEC First-Team honors. There could be even more this year.

RUNNER UP - Kirby Van Der Camp, Iowa State

DARK HORSE - Colter Johnson, Massachusetts

07/23 09:48:54 ET