DALLAS (FWAA) – Setting the tone in one of the top team defensive efforts last weekend was Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown, who had five tackles, a strip-sack and an interception as the Nittany Lions went into Auburn and left with a 41-12 win. For recording his first career sack, picking off his first pass of the season and leading the first Big Ten school to a home-and-home sweep of a Southeastern Conference school since 2012, Brown earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 17, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
Brown, a 5-11, 202-pound senior from Trenton, N.J., tied for the national lead with six interceptions last season and got his first of this season at Auburn, hauling in a pick deep in Penn State territory and returning it 27 yards in the third quarter. His strip-sack in the third quarter was his second career forced fumble as Penn State (3-0) recorded 11 tackles for loss and six sacks on the afternoon.
A third-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Brown was named one of the Nittany Lions’ team captains and is currently the team’s leading tackler with a 15.0 total with 13.0 solos. He is one of two defenders with an interception in his three starts. He had two interceptions in last season’s Outback Bowl against Arkansas, tying a Penn State bowl record.
Brown has had a hand in 10 career takeaways at Penn State with seven interceptions, two fumble recoveries and the forced fumble at Auburn. He will be added to the Bronko Nagurski watch list toward determining the 2022 finalists for the National Defensive Player of the Year award to be announced Nov. 26.
Penn State hosts its final non-conference game at Noon ET Saturday against Central Michigan (1-2) on the Big Ten Network.
Each week during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2022 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 16. The national defensive player of the year will be chosen from those finalists who are part of the 2022 FWAA All-America Team and presented with the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 5 at the Charlotte Convention Center. N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren will be the keynote speaker.
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.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region. Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified, boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies. The Club's activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches. Through individual and corporate support, nearly $3,000,000 has been raised and donated to benefit the Touchdown Club's scholarship efforts. For more information call 704-347-2918 or touchdownclub.com.