MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State football team continues to be recognized on national football award watch lists, as redshirt senior Brandon Martin (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) has been tabbed to the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The award is presented annually to the top defensive player in college football.

The 2021 watch list features 90 defensive standouts from 61 schools in all 10 Division I FBS conferences plus independents and includes seven returning players from last season’s FWAA All-America team.

In 2020, Martin became the first BSU player named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year since punter Brad Maynard in 1996 and the Cardinals’ first traditional defensive player to win the award since linebacker Greg Garnica did it three straight years from 1987-89.

Martin, an All-MAC First Team selection, started all eight games at inside linebacker after missing all but one game the previous season to an injury. He led the MAC with 90 total tackles and ranked eighth nationally with 11.3 tackles per game. He ranked second on the BSU team with 6.5 tackles for loss, including a sack in the win at Central Michigan (12/5/20).

Over the course of last season, Martin reached double-digit tackles in six of BSU’s eight games. He tallied a career-high 15 stops in the win over Eastern Michigan (11/11/20) on his way to MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week honors. Martin registered 14 tackles, including 2.0 for loss, in the MAC West championship-clinching win over Western Michigan (12/12/21) and 13 in the MAC Championship Game victory over No. 23 Buffalo (12/18/21).

Martin’s success did not go unnoticed as he was nominated for the Wuerffel Trophy for community service and named to the watch list for the Mayo Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Martin contributed to the Cardinals’ historic season in which Ball State finished 2020 with a 7-1 (5-1 MAC) record. BSU won its last seven games, claiming the MAC Championship over No. 23 Buffalo and the Arizona Bowl over No. 19 San Jose State on its way to a year-end national ranking of No. 23 in both the AP and coaches polls.

The Cardinals are looking to “run it back” as the favorite to win the MAC West Division and the Rocket Mortgage MAC Football Championship Game again in 2021 in the league’s annual preseason media poll.The 2021 Ball State football season is set to begin Thursday, Sept. 2, with a 7 p.m. kickoff versus Western Illinois at Scheumann Stadium. Season tickets, six-ticket flex plans, and single-game tickets are available now. Season ticket and flex plan holders enjoy the best available prices on Cardinals tickets along with additional benefits, including primary access to away games and postseason events. Fans can also purchase tickets via phone at 888.BSU.TICKET.