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