Kentucky’s J.J. Weaver on Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List

Kentucky’s J.J. Weaver on Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List


Kentucky senior outside linebacker J.J. Weaver is on the watch list for the 29th Chuck Bednarik Award presented annually to the outstanding defensive player in college football, it was announced Monday by The Maxwell Football Club.

Weaver, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, is a veteran leader for the Wildcats’ defense this season. After considering entry into the 2022 NFL Draft, Weaver decided to return to Kentucky and build off a solid junior year that saw him play in 11 games with eight starting assignments. He totaled 47 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, a team-high 3.0 sacks, three quarterback hurries, a team-high three fumble recoveries, a team-high tying two forced fumbles and a blocked kick in 2022.

He is on track to graduate this December with a degree in community leadership and development.

The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1994 and is named in honor of Chuck “Concrete Charlie” Bednarik who was an All-American player at the University of Pennsylvania and later a multiple year All Pro linebacker and center for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame and was the last NFL player to be a full-time player on both offense and defense.

Semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced Nov. 13, 2023, while the three finalists will be unveiled Nov. 28, 2023. The winner of the 29th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show held on Dec. 7, 2023. The formal presentations of the Chuck Bednarik Award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club Awards in March 2024.

In 2018, UK defensive end Josh Allen was announced as the Bednarik winner, the school’s first, after emerging as one of the nation’s best pass rushers. He tabbed 88 tackles, including 21.5 tackles for loss and broke UK’s single-season sacks record with 17, helping lead the Wildcats to a 10-3 record and a win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.

The Wildcats begin the 2023 season on Sept. 2 in Kroger Field against Ball State. The Wildcats’ first three games of the season will be at home (vs. EKU on Sept. 9 and vs. Akron on Sept. 16). UK’s SEC home opener will be Sept. 30 vs. Florida.

Fans interested in season-ticket purchases for the highly-anticipated 2023 season can visit for ticket prices and more information. Ticket packages start at just $225, offering significant savings over single-game ticket prices. Additionally, single-game ticket inventory for some of the most in-demand home matchups are already extremely limited, so fans hoping to guarantee a primary ticket spot for those games are encouraged to consider season-ticket options.

Fans may work together with a personal ticketing consultant to compare and purchase available seat locations by requesting a call or by contacting the UK Sales Office at (800) 928-2287 (Option 1).

UK Athletics and REVELxp have teamed up once again this year to offer turnkey, hassle-free tailgating for Kentucky football fans! All tailgates are located steps away from Kroger Field and offer a variety of package offerings to accommodate all groups. To learn more about tailgate packages, click here.

Mini-packs for the 2023 season are now available through Fans can choose one SEC matchup (Florida or Missouri) and two non-conference games (Ball State, EKU and Akron), with mini-packs starting at $104 per package.

Students interested in ticket options should visit for complete information on football and men’s basketball ticketing and to learn more about student season passes and single-game options. The season pass request window began Monday, July 24.

Group tickets are also available for UK’s games against Ball State, EKU, Akron, Florida and Missouri. Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets, starting at $25 each, beginning July 14 by calling the UK Sales Office at (800) 928-2287 (Option 1). To learn more about group sales opportunities, visit

UK is coming off a school record seventh straight bowl appearance, as the Cats finished the 2022 season with a 7-6 record. The Cats are 54-35 over the last seven seasons, including a 35-14 mark at Kroger Field.

Related Stories

View all