DALLAS (FWAA) – Five finalists for the
2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy were announced on Thursday
by the Football Writers Association of America
and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Vying for the honor of National Defensive Player of the Year
are, in alphabetical order: Duke safety Jeremy Cash,
Clemson end Shaq Lawson, Temple linebacker
Tyler Matakevich, Penn State end Carl Nassib
and Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland.
The winner will be announced Dec. 7 and presented the Bronko
Nagurski Trophy at a gala banquet sponsored by ACN at the Westin
Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn will give the
keynote address. This year's banquet marks the 21st anniversary
of the event being held in Charlotte.
In addition, the FWAA and Charlotte Touchdown Club will hand
out the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award presented
by Florida East Coast Railway. This year's recipient is Ohio State
linebacker Randy Gradishar, a member of the 1973
FWAA All-America team and a College Football Hall of Famer and former
All-Pro for the Denver Broncos.
The award is named after the legendary 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 and was the best player wherever the coaches put
Nagurski led Minnesota to the Big Ten title in 1927 and a three-year
record of 18-4-2. He went on to lead the fabled Chicago Bears to
three NFL titles. During one game at Wrigley Field, he once broke
a defensive player's shoulder, knocked another out and ran into
a brick wall and actually cracked it after a game-winning touchdown
The FWAA has named a National Defensive Player of the Year since
the 1993 season. Of the five schools represented among the finalists,
only Clemson has had a previous winner, Da'Quan Bowers in 2010.
While Alabama and Penn State have had finalists for the award before,
these are first-time Bronko Nagurski finalists for both Duke and
Temple. Alabama has a finalist for a fifth straight year.
A look at the five 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists, as
selected by the FWAA All-America Committee:
Jeremy Cash, S, Duke (6-2, 210, Sr., Miami, Fla.):
A second-team FWAA All-America selection last season, Cash has come
back strong in 2015 and is tied for third in the Atlantic Coast
Conference in tackles per game at 8.8. He also is the only defensive
back in the Top 100 in FBS in tackles for loss per game and is second
in the country behind Penn State end Carl Nassib with 17.5 (79 yards
in losses). In addition, Cash has broken up three passes, recovered
one fumble, registered eight quarterback hurries and forced three
fumbles. His coach David Cutcliffe says: "I don't know if there
is a better defensive player from a production standpoint in the
Shaq Lawson, E, Clemson (6-3, 270, Jr., Central, S.C.):
The big-play tackler for the nation's top-ranked team in the CFP poll,
Lawson is one of the strongest players in college football and is
a standout against the run. He has 16.5 tackles for loss, which
is among the Top 10 in the country. He has also broken up a pass
and made 12 quarterback hurries. In the victory over Notre Dame
he had 3.5 tackles for loss when he was matched up against Notre
Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, a clear victory for Lawson.
Tyler Matakevich, LB, Temple (6-1, 232, Sr., Stratford,
Conn.): The current career leader in tackles in the FBS
is on target to record more than 100 total tackles in each of
his four seasons at Temple. He is the first first-team defensive
All-American in school history and is the only player in the FBS
to lead his team (8-2 overall) in tackles every game this season.
He leads all FBS linebackers with five interceptions (47 return
yards) and he has 11.5 tackles for 56 yards in losses, including
four sacks for 25 yards in losses.
Carl Nassib, E, Penn State (6-7, 272, Sr., West Chester,
Pa.): A former preferred walk-on at Penn State, Nassib
has added weight and strength to become one of college football's
best defenders. His coach James Franklin describes him as "big,
long, explosive, athletic." Nassib leads the FBS in sacks (15.5),
tackles for loss (19.5) and forced fumbles (6). He has recorded
at least one sack in each game this season and has five multi-sack
games in 2015. He is one forced fumble away from tying the school
Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama (6-2, 252, Sr., Madison, Ala.):
Very active off the field in community service, Ragland, a team
captain, has a team-leading 82 tackles. He has 5.5 tackles for 20
yards in losses, five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and
two forced fumbles. He has
led the team in tackles in six of the Crimson Tide's 10 games.
Alabama's defense, after giving up 43 points in a loss to Ole
Miss, has been stellar as opponents have averaged just
11.8 points a game in the last seven contests, all Alabama victories.
Celebrating its 75th season, the Football Writers Association
of America, a non-profit organization, consists of more
than 1,400 men and women who cover college football. 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 email@example.com
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the
National College Football Awards Association. The
NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football.
The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence.
Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
ABOUT THE CHARLOTTE TOUCHDOWN CLUB AND ITS SPONSORS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org). The official website
of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.
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Florida East Coast Railway
FECR is a regional
freight railroad that extends along a 351-mile corridor between
Jacksonville, Fla., and Miami, Fla., with exclusive rail access
to the Port of Palm Beach, Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) and
the Port of Miami. For more information, visit fecrwy.com.
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billion in North America) and 58,000 employees. The Electrolux North
American headquarters is located at 10200 David Taylor Drive, Charlotte,
NC 28262 in the University Research Park. For more information visit
|2015 FWAA ALL-AMERICA
||Charleston Post & Courier
||Cedar Rapids Gazette
||Phil Steele Publications