Football Writers Association of America Dec. 12, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
972-713-6198
Junior LB led the nation in tackles for 2nd straight season
Bookmark and Share  
BOSTON COLLEGE'S KUECHLY WINS
2011 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FWAA) Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, the Atlantic Coast Conference's all-time leading tackler, has claimed the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football.

The Bronko Nagurski TrophyKuechly, a junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, became the 19th winner of the national defensive player of the year award, as voted on by the membership of the Football Writers Association of America. He received the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Monday night at a gala banquet sponsored by the Charlotte Touchdown Club at the Westin Hotel.

The four other 2011 Nagurski Trophy finalists were Alabama safety Mark Barron, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Illinois end Whitney Mercilus and Penn State tackle Devon Still.

"It's a great honor to be mentioned in this category," Kuechly said upon winning the award. "They picked five great candidates. Any one of us would have been a great choice. It is something special to win this award. I am going to take it and run. It will mean something special down the road."

Kuechly led the Football Bowl Subdivision in total tackles for a second straight season with 191 (102 unassisted), a whopping 15.9 per game. On leading the country in tackles, Kuechly said, "I think it is preparation. That is one of the big things we do at Boston College. When they (opposing offenses) are out there, we know what they are going to do. It is like practice to us."

Although Boston College posted only a 4-8 record, Kuechly was all over the field making plays. He had three interceptions for 71 yards in returns, including a 45-yarder for a touchdown in the final game of the season, a 24-17 victory at Miami.

"He is a great player with an indomitable spirit," said Miami coach Al Golden. "He has a physical, mental and competitive toughness that is off the charts. His durability, lateral quickness and mobility are off the charts. He is just a really good player. ... He is the type of player that you want to coach or develop. He is a fierce competitor."

The 6-3, 235-pounder made 12 tackles for 28 yards in losses this season and also broke up three passes and had three quarterback hurries. His career-high 23 tackles against Duke tied for the second-highest single-game total in the FBS, and his 20 tackles vs. Florida State tied for the eighth-highest.

Kuechly became the second consecutive ACC player to win the Nagurski Trophy. Clemson end Da'Quan Bowers won it last season.

"He doesn't look like your typical middle linebacker, but you turn the film on and he's unbelievable," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "He's in the picture on every play. I met him at the Nagurski awards dinner last year. He looks like a biochemist with those glasses (off the field). You would never know he tears people's heads off on the football field. He is relentless."

Kuechly's efforts certainly mirror the person for whom the trophy is named. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is given in memory of the legendary Nagurski, an All-America lineman at Minnesota (1927-29).

Nagurski was a farm boy of Ukrainian and Polish stock who developed his body by pulling a plow. He was discovered, legend has it, by Minnesota coach "Doc" Spears, who stopped by a farm field in International Falls, Minn., near the Canadian border and asked directions from a big kid plowing a field without a horse. The kid showed Spears where he wanted to go by picking up the plow in one hand and pointing it in the direction Spears was heading.

Nagurski dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle and could have been an All-American at any position. He then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s.

Jack Youngblood was presented with the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award sponsored by Florida East Coast Railway. Youngblood, a standout end at the University of Florida, was a member of the 1970 FWAA All-America team and later played 14 seasons in the National Football League. Each year the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club honor one of the defensive legends from a past FWAA All-America team, a tradition which began with the 1966 team and works its way forward each year.

Portions of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presentation banquet we will be shown on NFL Network on Friday, Dec. 16.

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 jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is www.touchdownclub.com.

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 tiger@fwaa.com 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.

Related link:
Charlotte Touchdown Club

2011 FWAA ALL-AMERICA COMMITTEE
Kirk Bohls Austin American-Statesman Big 12
Tommy Hicks Mobile Press-Register Sun Belt
Mike Huguenin rivals.com ACC
Tony Jones Salt Lake Tribune WAC
Tom Kensler Denver Post Pac-12
Iliana Limon Orlando Sentinel C-USA
Kelly Lyell Fort Collins Coloradoan Mountain West
Brett McMurphy cbssports.com Big East
Randy Peterson Des Moines Register Big Ten
Zach Silva Toledo Blade MAC
Andy Staples si.com SEC
Phil Steele Phil Steele Publications National