DALLAS (FWAA) Minnesota safety Derrick Wells has been named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for games of the weekend of Sept. 1.

Wells, a 6-0, 205-pound sophomore from Lehigh Acres, Fla., made the most of his first career start with two critical interceptions to boost the Golden Gophers to a 30-27 triple overtime victory at UNLV last Thursday. The two interceptions were also the first for Wells, who played cornerback last season.

Wells' first interception in the middle of the fourth quarter set up Minnesota's go-ahead field goal. His second interception on the third overtime possessopm put the Golden Gophers in position for the game-winning field goal. Wells tied for the team lead with eight tackles on the evening.

Wells will be added to the 2012 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. Five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be announced by the Football Writers Association of America on Nov. 15. The winner will be revealed on Dec. 3 during a banquet that the Charlotte Touchdown Club sponsors at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

Each Tuesday during the 2012 season the FWAA All-America Committee will select a national defensive player of the week from nominations made by the 11 Division I Bowl Subdivision conferences and major independents.

The FWAA has sponsored a National Defensive Player of the Year award since 1993 and has named a National Defensive Player of the Week since the 2001 season. Last year, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly won the coveted Bronko Nagurski Trophy at season's end.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is given in memory of the legendary All-American lineman at Minnesota (1927-29). Nagurski dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle and could have been an All-America at any position. He then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s.

The Bronko Nagurski TrophyThe 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.

2012 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week

Sept. 1: Derrick Wells, Minnesota

· Sept. 8: Jarvis Jones, Georgia

· Sept. 15: Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut

· Sept. 22: Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

· Sept. 29: Chip Thompson, East Carolina

· Oct. 6: Brandon Sharpe, Syracuse

· Oct. 13: Khaseem Greene, Rutgers

· Oct. 20: Kevin Minter, LSU

· Oct. 27: Jarvis Jones, Georgia

· Nov. 3: Allen Chapman, Kansas State