The Bendarik Award is given to the nation's best defensive player, and it was won last year by former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
Te'o also won the Maxwell Award last season, becoming the first player to win both honors in the same year. Two of his former teammates, Tuitt and Nix, are on the 76-man watch list this season for that award, which goes to the player of the year.
Semifinalists for both awards will be announced Oct. 29, with three finalists for each then being announced on Nov. 25. The winners are unveiled during the Dec. 12 Home Depot College Football Awards Show.