Wilkins and Lawrence named to the Nagurski Trophy Watch List

DALLAS (FWAA) — The 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List boasts 103 defensive standouts from all 10 Division I FBS conferences, including four returning players from last season’s Football Writers Association of America All-America team.

Christian Wilkins, a defensive tackle for defending national champion Clemson, and Florida State defensive back Tarvarus McFadden are the only 2016 FWAA first-teamers on the list. Two other 2016 second-teamers – Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Virginia linebacker Micah Kiser – are included along with NIU defensive back Shawun Lurry, a 2015 First-Team FWAA All-America player.

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 20 players on the watch list, followed by the Big Ten (16), SEC (14), Pac-12 (13), Big 12 (11), American Athletic (10), Sun Belt (6), Mountain West (5), Independents (3), Mid-American (3) and Conference USA (2). The list includes 30 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, 25 defensive ends and 19 defensive tackles, all vying for the award representing college football’s best defensive player.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous seasons, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time.

2017 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST

Tackles (19)
Drew Bailey, Louisville
Folorunso Fatukasi, UConn
Greg Gaines, Washington
Will Geary, Kansas State
Rasheem Green, USC
B.J. Hill, N.C. State
Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
Lowell Lotulelei, Utah
David Moa, Boise State
Derrick Nnadi, Florida State
Kendrick Norton, Miami
Ed Oliver, Houston
Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
Steven Richardson, Minnesota
Deadrin Senat, USF
Trent Thompson, Georgia
Vita Vea, Washington
Christian Wilkins, Clemson

Ends (25)
Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas
Nick Bosa, Ohio State
Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Aikeem Coleman, Idaho
Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest
Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
Marcell Frazier, Missouri
Rashan Gary, Michigan
Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss
Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
Harold Landry, Boston College
Justin Lawler, SMU
Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State
James Looney, California
Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State
Malik Reed, Nevada
Malcolm Roach, Texas
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State
Conor Sheehy, Wisconsin
K.J. Smith, Baylor
Josh Sweat, Florida State
Chad Thomas, Miami
Reggie Walker, Kansas State
JoJo Wicker, Arizona State
Jabari Zuniga, Florida

Linebackers (29)
Alex Aukerman, Army West Point
Genard Avery, Memphis
Jerome Baker, Ohio State
Eric Boggs, Appalachian State
Jason Cabinda, Penn State
Steve Casali, Massachusetts
Jack Cichy, Wisconsin
Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Emmanuel Ellerbee, Rice
Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Ulysees Gilbert III, Akron
Shaquem Griffin, UCF
James Hearns, Louisville
Travin Howard, TCU
Malik Jefferson, Texas
Josey Jewell, Iowa
Jordan Jones, Kentucky
Arden Key, LSU
Micah Kiser, Virginia
Skai Moore, South Carolina
Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
Shaquille Quarterman, Miami
Auggie Sanchez, USF
Tegray Scales, Indiana
Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii
Micah Thomas, Navy
Cameron Smith, USC
Azeem Victor, Washington

Backs (30)
Jaire Alexander, Louisville
Dravon Askew-Henry, West Virginia
Marcus Allen, Penn State
Quin Blanding, Virginia
Blace Brown, Troy
Andre Chachere, San Jose State
Sean Chandler, Temple
Duke Dawson, Florida
D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin
Rashard Fant, Indiana
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Chase Hansen, Utah
Heath Harding, Miami (Ohio)
Ronnie Harrison, Alabama
Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern
Derwin James, Florida State
Shawun Lurry, NIU
Iman Marshall, USC
Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State
Quenton Meeks, Stanford
Deatrick Nichols, USF
Taylor Rapp, Washington
Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama
D.J. Reed, Kansas State
Jordan Thomas, Oklahoma
Kevin Toliver, LSU
Armani Watts, Texas A&M
Jordan Whitehead, Pitt
Andrew Wingard, Wyoming
Jaden Wright, New Mexico State

The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thurs., Nov. 16.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Notre Dame’s Ross Browner, a member of the FWAA’s 1976 and 1977 All-America Teams, the 1976 Outland Trophy winner and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 23 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

The members of the NCFAA are unveiling their preseason watch lists over a two-week period this month. Sixteen of the association’s 23 awards select a preseason watch list and the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award’s preseason candidates. Following is the complete 2017 preseason watch list calendar:

Mon., July 10: Bednarik Award/Maxwell Award
Tues., July 11: Mackey Award/Rimington Trophy
Wed., July 12: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award
Thurs., July 13: Bronko Nagurski Trophy/Outland Trophy
Fri., July 14: Jim Thorpe Award
Mon., July 17: Butkus Award/Paul Hornung Award
Tues., July 18: Biletnikoff Award/Wuerffel Trophy
Wed., July 19: Davey O’Brien Award
Thurs., July 20: Doak Walker Award
Fri., July 21: Walter Camp Award

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