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. 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.
Below are the representatives of the 2017 preseason watch list:
|DB Jaire Alexander, Louisville||DE Harold Landry, Boston College|
|DB Marcus Allen, Penn State||DE Justin Lawler, SMU|
|DE Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas||DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson|
|DB Dravon Askew-Henry, West Virginia||DE Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State|
|LB Alex Aukerman, Army West Point||DE James Looney, California|
|LB Genard Avery, Memphis||DT Lowell Lotulelei, Utah|
|DT Drew Bailey, Louisville||DB Shawun Lurry, NIU|
|LB Jerome Baker, Ohio State||DB Iman Marshall, USC|
|DB Quin Blanding, Virginia||DE Hercules Mata’afa, Washington State|
|LB Eric Boggs, Appalachian State||DB Tarvarus McFadden, Florida State|
|DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State||DB Quenton Meeks, Stanford|
|DB Blace Brown, Troy||DT David Moa, Boise State|
|LB Jason Cabinda, Penn State||LB Skai Moore, South Carolina|
|LB Steve Casali, Massachusetts||LB Nyles Morgan, Notre Dame|
|DB Andre Chachere, San Jose State||DB Deatrick Nichols, USF|
|DB Sean Chandler, Temple||DT Derrick Nnadi, Florida State|
|DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State||DT Kendrick Norton, Miami|
|LB Jack Cichy, Wisconsin||LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma|
|DE Aikeem Coleman, Idaho||DT Ed Oliver, Houston|
|DB Duke Dawson, Florida||DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama|
|DB D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin||LB Shaquille Quarterman, Miami|
|LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech||DB Taylor Rapp, Washington|
|DE Duke Ejiofor, Wake Forest||DB Jeremy Reaves, South Alabama|
|LB Emmanuel Ellerbee, Rice||DB D.J. Reed, Kansas State|
|LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama||DE Malik Reed, Nevada|
|DB Rashard Fant, Indiana||DT Steven Richardson, Minnesota|
|DT Folorunso Fatukasi, UConn||DE Malcolm Roach, Texas|
|DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech||DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State|
|DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama||LB Auggie Sanchez, USF|
|DE Marcell Frazier, Missouri||LB Tegray Scales, Indiana|
|DT Greg Gaines, Washington||DT Deadrin Senat, USF|
|DE Rashan Gary, Michigan||DE Conor Sheehy, Wisconsin|
|DT Will Geary, Kansas State||DE K.J. Smith, Baylor|
|LB Ulysees Gilbert III, Akron||LB Cameron Smith, USC|
|DT Rasheem Green, USC||DE Josh Sweat, Florida State|
|LB Shaquem Griffin, UCF||LB Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii|
|DB Chase Hansen, Utah||DE Chad Thomas, Miami|
|DB Heath Harding, Miami (Ohio)||LB Micah Thomas, Navy|
|DB Ronnie Harrison, Alabama||DB Jordan Thomas, Oklahoma|
|DE Marquis Haynes, Ole Miss||DT Trent Thompson, Georgia|
|LB James Hearns, Louisville||DB Kevin Toliver, LSU|
|DT B.J. Hill, N.C. State||DT Vita Vea, Washington|
|LB Travin Howard, TCU||LB Azeem Victor, Washington|
|DE Sam Hubbard, Ohio State||DE Reggie Walker, Kansas State|
|DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan||DB Armani Watts, Texas A&M|
|DB Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern||DB Jordan Whitehead, Pitt|
|DB Derwin James, Florida State||DE JoJo Wicker, Arizona State|
|LB Malik Jefferson, Texas||DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson|
|LB Josey Jewell, Iowa||DB Andrew Wingard, Wyoming|
|LB Jordan Jones, Kentucky||DB Jaden Wright, New Mexico State|
|LB Arden Key, LSU||DE Jabari Zuniga, Florida|
|LB Micah Kiser, Virginia|