DALLAS (FWAA) The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, released its preseason watch list for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree today, selecting 98 defensive standouts from 66 schools in all 10 Division I FBS conferences plus independents on a roster that includes five returning players from last season's FWAA All-America team and one from 2018.
Two of the nation's returning sack leaders, Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau and Oregon State linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr., headline the list from among the six returning FWAA All-America selections: LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., who tied for fifth in the nation with six interceptions last season, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, Pitt defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman and Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo, who was on the second team in 2018.
Seven schools are tied with three representatives each, including Pitt, which in addition to Twyman has defensive end Patrick Jones and safety Paris Ford to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference's 17 players that top the conference totals and hail from 11 of its 14 schools. Defending national champion LSU has defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin and safety JaCoby Stevens in its trio alongside Stingley Jr., and Alabama and Georgia also have three players as part of the Southeastern Conference's crew of 15. Oregon, USC and Washington also have trios on the list from among the Pac-12's 13 players that also includes Washington State's Jahad Woods, fourth in the nation in tackles last season with 141.
There are 18 schools with teammates on the list and 15 players return from last season's watch list. National runner-up Clemson has defensive tackle Tyler Davis and linebacker James Skalski listed. Penn State has defensive end Shaka Toney in addition to its All-American Parsons, and Miami adds Quincy Roche, a transfer from Temple, to its pairing with All-American Rousseau. Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade and Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins made the list from last year's other College Football Playoff teams. Western Michigan linebacker Treshaun Hawyard, the nation's top returning tackle leader (142), is one of the Mid-American Conference's five members.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday this season. If not already on the watch list, each week's honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
The winner of the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree as the National Defensive Player of the Year will be chosen from those five finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association's full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.
This year's watch list includes at least four players from all 10 FBS conferences plus three from the independents. The ACC led the conference list with 17 with the SEC (15) just behind, making up almost one-third of the list. The Pac-12 (13), Big 12 (12) and Big Ten (10) also have double-digit representation, followed by Conference USA (7), the American Athletic (6), Sun Belt (6), Mid-American (5), Mountain West (4) and Independents (3). The list includes 31 linebackers, 28 backs, 23 ends and 16 tackles.
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 Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.
The members of the NCFAA are unveiling preseason watch lists over a 10-day period this month. Fourteen of the association's 25 awards will present their preseason watch list during this time as the NCFAA has spearheaded a coordinated effort to promote each award's preseason candidates. Following is the remaining 2020 preseason watch list calendar:
Wed., July 22: Lou Groza Award/Ray Guy Award
Thu., July 23: Hornung Award/Wuerffel Trophy
Fri., July 24: Maxwell Award
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
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. Since 1990, the club has raised more than $2 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or email@example.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.
About LendingTree, Inc.
LendingTree is the nation's leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search and choosing the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards, insurance and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers' credit accounts against offers on their network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. LendingTree's purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life's meaningful moments through choice, education and support.