CINCINNATI – Cincinnati football redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Dontay Corleone added another preseason honor to his resume on Friday when he was named by the Walter Camp Football Foundation to its annual preseason "players to watch" list for the 2023 Player of the Year award.
Corleone is one just seven defensive players, among 45 overall, to earn mention for the nation's fourth-oldest individual college football accolade.
Earlier this month he was named to the watch list for the 2023 Outland Trophy and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in addition to preseason All-Big 12 accolades.
The Cincinnati Colerain High School product anchored a defense that ranked fifth nationally with 4.61 yards per play allowed and totaled 45 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles in only 11 games in 2022 to earn All-AAC First Team and Third Team All-America selections from the Associated Press (AP) and Pro Football Focus (PFF). He was also named an AFCA and College Football News Freshman All-American.
He finished as the nation's highest-graded defensive player by PFF (93.8) in 2022 and recorded a single-season run defense grade (94.7) that was the best of any player since 2019.
Cincinnati is entering their inaugural season in the Big 12 with a lot of uncertainty from outside media. Those close to the program have a good understanding of how good this defense could potentially be on the defensive line with the return of Corleone, Jowon Briggs, Malik Vann, Eric Phillips, Justin Wodtly, and Derik Shephard. Deshawn Pace and Daniel Grzesiak will get a lot of freedom from the second level in new defensive coordinator Bryan Brown's defensive scheme.
Defensive Lineman Jowon Briggs has also been announced to the preseason Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, which honors college football's most impactful leaders in community service. Additionally, punter Mason Fletcher was included on the Ray Guy Award Preseason Watch List, which honors the best collegiate punter.
With news out of camp being encouraging in regards to the development of the wide receiver room, we are starting to see less and less question marks regarding the 2023 Bearcats. Cincinnati will open their season on Saturday September 2nd at Nippert Stadium against Eastern Kentucky.
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