Football Writers Association of America Nov. 17, 2016
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Richardson
.pdf version
Winner to be announced at Dec. 5 banquet in Charlotte, N.C.
Bookmark and Share  

DALLAS (FWAA) – Five finalists have been chosen for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

The finalists, in alphabetical order, are: Alabama end Jonathan Allen, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Florida State cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Michigan linebacker Jabrill Peppers and Clemson end Christian Wilkins.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Top-ranked and unbeaten Alabama has a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist for the sixth straight year and for the seventh time in eight years. Clemson has a finalist for the second straight year. Florida State’s last finalist was in 2013 and Michigan’s in 2006.

Clemson has had one previous winner, Da’Quan Bowers in 2010. And Michigan’s Charles Woodson was the 1997 winner during the same season in which he collected the Heisman Trophy. Both Alabama and Florida State will be seeking a winner for the first time this year.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from these five finalists, who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selected the Nagurski Trophy finalists and will choose the winner.

Allen, a 6-3, 291-pound senior from Leesburg, Va., and Foster, a 6-1, 228-pound senior from Auburn, Ala., are two of the standouts on Alabama’s defense, which is one of the best in the country. The Crimson Tide ranks No. 1 in the FBS in rushing defense (68.8 yards allowed per game), and No. 2 in both scoring defense (12.2 points per game allowed) and in total defense (259.5 yards allowed per game).

Allen, who is tied for second place on the Crimson Tide’s career sack list with 25, has 7.5 sacks for 55 yards in losses this season. He has 13 quarterback hurries, has broken up two passes, and blocked a kick. He has scored touchdowns on two fumble recoveries – a 75-yard return against Mississippi and a 30-yard return against Texas A&M.

Foster is Alabama’s leading tackler with 70 tackles (35 unassisted). Along with Allen, he also has started all 10 games this season. Foster has seven tackles for 29 yards in losses, two of which are sacks. He has two passes broken up and four quarterback hurries.

McFadden, a 6-2, 198-pound sophomore cornerback from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., leads the country with seven interceptions. He is the first Seminole with seven interceptions since 1997 and is already tied for the fourth highest interception total by an FSU player in a single season. He also chips in 14 tackles (11 unassisted), three tackles for 12 yards in losses and four passes broken up for the Seminoles (7-3).

Michigan’s Peppers, a 6-1, 205-pound junior linebacker from East Orange, N.J., who plays some defensive back, has played 13 different positions during the 2016 season. But he is the star of the defense that ranks No. 1 in the country in scoring defense (allowing 11.0 ppg), in total defense (allowing 244.7 yards per game) and in passing defense (allowing 131.6 yards per game). Peppers is the season’s second-leading tackler on the team with 59 (14 of which have been for 63 yards in losses). He has a forced fumble and eight quarterback hurries for the once-beaten Wolverines.

Wilkins, a 6-4, 310-pound sophomore end from Springfield, Mass., is one of the defensive stalwarts for the Tigers, who have lost only to Pittsburgh. He plays more end than tackle. Over the course of the season he has made 45 tackles (33 unassisted). He has a team-leading 11 tackles for 47 yards in losses, 3.5 of which are sacks. He has also recovered a fumble and blocked a kick for Clemson, which ranks 12th in FBS in scoring defense (18.4 points allowed per game.)

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 5, at the Charlotte Convention Center.

In addition to the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe 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 Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 22 awards boast more than 700 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit to learn more about our story.


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 The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is

ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including Home Phone Service, High Speed Internet, Wireless, Television, Home Security & Automation, Computer Support and Natural Gas and Electricity. ACN operates in 23 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit

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

Electrolux is a global leader in appliances for household and professional use, selling more than 50 million products to customers in more than 150 countries every year. The company focuses on innovations that are thoughtfully designed, based on extensive consumer insight, to meet the real needs of consumers and professionals. Electrolux products include refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cookers and air-conditioners sold under esteemed brands such as Electrolux, Frigidaire, Kelvinator, AEG, and Eureka. In 2012, Electrolux had sales of $17 billion ($5.1 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

Nick Baumgardner Big Ten
Kirk Bohls Austin American-Statesman Chairman
Tim Griffin San Antonio Express-News C-USA
Clay Henry Hawgs Illustrated SEC
Joey Johnston American Athletic
Steve Jones Louisville Courier-Journal ACC
Matt Roberson Jonesboro Sun Sun Belt
John Shinn Norman Transcript Big 12
Dave Southorn Idaho Statesman Mountain West
Phil Steele Phil Steele Publications Independents/National
Ryan Thorburn Eugene Register-Guard Pac-12
John Wagner Toledo Blade Mid-American