CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois junior Whitney Mercilus has won the Hendricks Award, given to the nation's best defensive end.
Mercilus leads the nation in sacks, sacks per game and forced fumbles. He's also ranked sixth nationally in tackles for loss per game.
The Akron, Ohio, native has 52 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 2011.
Mercilus has had at least one sack in 10 of 12 games this season, including a career-high three against Indiana. He's also forced a fumble in four straight games.
The award is named for former Miami star and three-time All-American Ted Hendricks.