2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List

2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List

The Football Writers Association of America released its 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, selecting 97 defensive standouts from 61 schools in all 10 Division I FBS conferences on a roster that includes three returning players from last season’s FWAA All-America team.

Bronko Nagurski Trophy Ed Oliver, a junior tackle from the University of Houston and a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist a year ago, joins senior Clemson end Austin Bryant and junior end Sutton Smith of Northern Illinois as returning selections from the 2017 FWAA All-America first team.

Oliver, the 2017 Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s best interior lineman, is a two-time FWAA All-American after earning second-team mention in 2016. This year’s watch list for the nation’s top defensive player also includes LSU linebacker Devin White and Clemson end Clelin Ferrell, both second-team FWAA All-America selections a year ago, as well as Clemson tackle Christian Wilkins, a 2016 FWAA All-America first team member.

Frank Coyle is a longtime member of the FWAA and a voter for the Heisman Trophy, Outland Trophy,  Bronko Nagurski, Jim Thorpe, Fred Biletnikoff  and Eddie Robinson awards annually for 25 years.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday this 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 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 14.

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.

This year’s watch list includes at least four players from each of the 10 FBS conferences. The SEC (16) leads the 97-member list with the Big Ten (15) right behind. The ACC (13) and Pac-12 (12) also have double-digit representation, followed by the Big 12 (9), American Athletic and Mountain West (7), Conference USA and Independents (5), and the Mid-American and Sun Belt (4).

The list includes 27 backs, 26 linebackers, 24 ends and 20 tackles.

Frank Coyle is a voter in Heisman Trophy, Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski, Jim Thorpe, Fred Biletnikoff and Eddie Robinson awards annually for 25 years.

2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List (97)

LB Dakota Allen, Texas Tech
DB Tyler Horton, Boise State
DE Zach Allen, Boston College
LB Khaleke Hudson, Michigan
LB Azeez Al-Shaair, Florida Atlantic
DB Michael Jackson, Miami
DB Dravon Askew-Henry, West Virginia
DE Cece Jefferson, Florida
LB Joe Bachie, Michigan State
DE Jalen Jelks, Oregon
DE Ben Banogu, TCU
DB Jaquan Johnson, Miami
DT Terry Beckner Jr., Missouri
DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State
DT Ryan Bee, Marshall
DE Corbin Kaufusi, BYU
DB Julian Blackmon, Utah
LB Jordan Kunaszyk, California
DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
DB Kris Boyd, Texas
DE Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia
DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
DT Ira Lewis, Baylor
DB Blace Brown, Troy
DB Shelton Lewis, Florida Atlantic
DE Austin Bryant, Clemson
DT Ray Lima, Iowa State
LB Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington
LB David Long Jr., West Virginia
LB Devin Bush, Michigan
DB Julian Love, Notre Dame
DB T.J. Carter, Memphis
DB Chase Lucas, Arizona State
DB Justin Clifton, Arkansas State
DT David Moa, Boise State
LB Te’von Coney, Notre Dame
LB James Nachtigal, Army West Point
DT Marquise Copeland, Cincinnati
DE Anthony Nelson, Iowa
DE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan
DT Ed Oliver, Houston
DE Marlon Davidson, Auburn
DB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
DE Raekwon Davis, Alabama
LB Shaquille Quarterman, Miami
DB Lukas Denis, Boston College
DB Delvon Randall, Temple
DB D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin
DB Taylor Rapp, Washington
LB Tyrel Dodson, Texas A&M
DE Christian Rector, USC
DE Landis Durham, Texas A&M
LB Malik Reed, Nevada
LB Troy Dye, Oregon
LB David Reese, Florida
LB Cooper Edmiston, Tulsa
DE Hunter Reese, Troy
DB Mike Edwards, Kentucky
DT Olive Sagapolu, Wisconsin
LB T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin
DT Jordon Scott, Oregon
DE Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech
DB Duke Shelley, Kansas State
DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
DT Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State
LB Paddy Fisher, Northwestern
LB Cameron Smith, USC
DT Greg Gaines, Washington
DE Sutton Smith, NIU
DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
DE Joe Gaziano, Northwestern
LB Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii
DT Youhanna Ghaifan, Wyoming
DB Marvell Tell III, USC
DB Kyle Gibson, UCF
DB Juan Thornhill, Virginia
DB Mark Gilbert, Duke
DT Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
LB Ulysees Gilbert III, Akron
DT Ricky Walker, Virginia Tech
LB Joe Giles-Harris, Duke
LB Devin White, LSU
DE Carl Granderson, Wyoming
DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
LB Terez Hall, Missouri
DB Greedy Williams, LSU
LB De’Jon Harris, Arkansas
DB Andrew Wingard, Wyoming
DB Tae Hayes, Appalachian State
DE Chase Winovich, Michigan
DB Lavert Hill, Michigan
DT Daniel Wise, Kansas
DT Trysten Hill, UCF
DE Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
LB Khalil Hodge, Buffalo

By conference: SEC 16, Big Ten 15, ACC 13, Pac-12 12, Big 12 9, American Athletic 7, Mountain West 7, Conference USA 5, Independents 5, Mid-American 4, Sun Belt 4.

By position: Backs 27, Linebackers 26, Ends 24, Tackles 20.

Players may be added or removed from the list before or during the season

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Dec. 3 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award. Ohio State linebacker Tom Cousineau, a member of the FWAA’s 1977 All-America team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh 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 the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the NCFAA.


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