DALLAS (FWAA) – Five finalists for the 2011 Bronko
Nagurski Trophy were announced on Thursday by the Football
Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown
safety Mark Barron, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne,
Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, Illinois end Whitney
Mercilus and Penn State tackle Devon Still are vying
for one of the FWAA's highest honors, its National Defensive Player
of the Year award.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 12 and presented the Bronko
Nagurski Trophy at a gala banquet at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte,
N.C., where Georgia head coach Mark Richt will be the keynote speaker.
In addition, the FWAA and Charlotte Touchdown Club will award
the fifth Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by Florida
East Coast Railway, to Jack Youngblood, a standout end at Florida
and a member of the 1970 FWAA All-America team.
The FWAA's National Defensive Player of the Year Award is named
after Bronko Nagurski, who dominated college football at the University
of Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle from 1927-29.
He could have been an All-American at any position, playing 60 minutes
as the best player wherever he lined up.
A look at the five 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists, as
selected by the FWAA All-America Committee:
Mark Barron, Free Safety, Alabama, 6-2, 218, Sr. (Mobile,
Ala.): An anchor of a Crimson Tide defense that ranks No.
1 nationally in the four major statistical categories ” rush
defense, pass defense, total defense and scoring defense. Barron,
a 2010 FWAA All-America, has made 57 tackles this season (33
unassisted) for the once-beaten team. Barron has two interceptions
and has made four tackles for seven yards in losses. He has
five passes broken up and one quarterback hurry. He had an interception
and a fumble recovery in a victory at Penn State.
Morris Claiborne, Cornerback, LSU, 6-0, 185, Jr. (Shreveport,
La.): One of the stalwarts on a Tiger unit that ranks among
the top six teams in college football in rush, pass, scoring
and total defense. He has four interceptions with 128 yards
in returns and one touchdown. He has made 38 tackles (22 unassisted)
and collected one stop for a loss. Claiborne has broken up five
passes and has registered one quarterback hurry. In a 19-6 victory
over Mississippi State, he intercepted two passes.
Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Boston College, 6-3, 237, Jr.
(Cincinnati, Ohio): He has 168 tackles – 30 more than anyone
else in the nation. He has 89 unassisted and 79 assisted tackles.
His unassisted total leads the nation. He also has two interceptions,
10 tackles for loss, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.
He has double-digit tackles in every game this season. He has
played in 36 career games and has had double-digit tackles in
33, including 32 in a row. Kuechly was also a Nagurski finalist
Whitney Mercilus, End, Illinois, 6-4, 265, Jr. (Akron,
Ohio): Illinois started the season 6-0 and Mercilus is one
of the big reasons. He ranks fourth in the country in tackles
for loss (17.5). Those tackles total 93 yards in losses, of
which 12.5 are sacks (82 yards in losses). He has forced seven
fumbles to lead the nation. He has six quarterback hurries and
one pass breakup for college football's No. 9 team in total
defense (288.3 yards per game). Overall, he has made 47 total
tackles (24 assisted).
Devon Still, Tackle, Penn State, 6-5, 310, Sr. (Wilmington,
Del.): Penn State's defense ranks third in points allowed
(12.9 per game), trailing only Alabama and LSU. And the Nittany
Lions' defense is eighth nationally in yards allowed per game
(287.2). Still has been the defensive leader and ranks sixth
in the country in tackles for loss (16.5) for 75 yards, of which
four are sacks for 34 yards in losses. He has one pass breakup
and one forced fumble. He has 53 total tackles (25 assisted).
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization
founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate,
and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club's
activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding
citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area
athletes and coaches. For more information, contact John Rocco
(704-347-2918 or email@example.com).
The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 men and women who cover college football
for a living. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists,
as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works
to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America
team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve
Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National
College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The NCFAA was founded
in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to
protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige
of the game's predominant awards. The NCFAA encourages professionalism
and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards
and the selection of their candidates and recipients. For more information,
visit the association's official Web site, ncfaa.org.
• All-time Bronko Nagurski Trophy winners (from touchdownclub.com)
|2011 FWAA ALL-AMERICA
||Salt Lake Tribune
||Fort Collins Coloradoan
||Des Moines Register
||Phil Steele Publications