Texas' Ford is Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week

DALLAS (FWAA) – Linebacker Jaylan Ford had a hand in three takeaways and a team-leading 10 tackles to lead the Texas defense in a 34-27 win at No. 13 Kansas State. For an interception and a fumble recovery that sealed the win in the final minute, Ford earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games during the weekend of Nov. 5, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Ford’s interception, the second of his career, came in the second quarter after Texas (6-3) had shot out to an early lead. His return of 18 yards to the Wildcats’ 27-yard line set up a Longhorns touchdown off the short field and a 31-10 halftime lead. More vital to the outcome was Ford’s second career fumble recovery with 24 seconds left to play and Texas clutching its 34-27 lead. Defensive tackle Keondre Coburn knocked the ball from K-State quarterback Adrian Martinez’s grip with Ford recovering the loose ball a few yards upfield at the Texas 39. 

The 6-3, 234-pound junior from Frisco, Texas, had six solo tackles as part of his game-high 10 tackles and forced another fumble in the third quarter. It was Ford’s fifth game this season with double-digit tackles and he leads the Big 12 with 9.11 tackles per game and 82 total. This week was Ford’s second Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Week honor in three weeks; he also garnered it Oct. 15 after he intercepted a pass in the end zone and had another game-clinching fumble recovery in the final moments of a 24-21 win over Iowa State.

This is the fourth time for a Texas player to earn the weekly Bronko Nagurski award and first since Oct. 31, 2020, when edge rusher Joseph Ossai earned it following a win at then No. 6 Oklahoma State. The Longhorns have a well-represented past with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Cedric Reed (2014), Aaron Ross (2006) and Derrick Johnson (2003) also won earlier weekly awards. Former Longhorns Brian Orakpo (DE, 2008) and Derrick Johnson (LB, 2004) are previous winners of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and defensive tackle Malcom Brown was a finalist in 2014.  

Texas, which returned to the AP’s Top 25 this week at No. 18, hosts No. 4 TCU in an ABC primetime game at 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday. 

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 tiger@fwaa.com.

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.