Mercilus Named CFPA Defensive Performer of the Year
Dec. 15, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois junior defensive end Whitney Mercilus was named the 2011 College Football Performance Awards National Defensive Performer of the Year Thursday. Mercilus earned the honor based on objective scientific rankings of the extent to which an individual player increases the overall effectiveness of his team, according to the CFPA. This is the second-straight year an Illini has earned a CFPA award, as running back Mikel Leshoure was awarded the CFPA Running Back trophy as the nation's top runner in 2010.
Mercilus has been dominant this season, leading the nation in sacks (14.5), sacks per game (1.21) and forced fumbles (9). His nine forced fumbles are a Big Ten record and are one shy of tying the FBS record of 10 set by Louisville's Elvis Dumervil in 2005. He also is tied for fifth in the nation and leads the Big Ten in tackles for loss with 19.5.
Mercilus is a consensus All-American, being named to first-team All-America squads by the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America, Walter Camp, the American Football Coaches Association, CBSSports.com, ESPN.com, Phil Steele, SI.com and Yahoo.com. He was an honorable mention All-American by Pro Football Weekly.
The Akron, Ohio, native was named the Ted Hendricks Award winner as the nation's top defensive end and won the Bill Willis Defensive Lineman of the Year award. He was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Rotary Lombardi Award. Mercilus also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors.
Mercilus Postseason Honors in 2011 (as of Dec. 15)