|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
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
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 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.
|2011 FWAA ALL-AMERICA
||Salt Lake Tribune
||Fort Collins Coloradoan
||Des Moines Register
||Phil Steele Publications