DALLAS (FWAA) – Edge Ron Stone Jr. spearheaded a Washington State defensive front tallying two sacks and two tackles-for-loss among five total tackles as the Cougars topped No. 19 Wisconsin, 31-22. For the three solo tackles and two forced fumbles as the Cougars hosted – and defeated – a ranked Power 5 team in a non-conference game for the first time, Stone earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Sept. 9, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.
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 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 15. The national defensive player of the year will be chosen from those finalists who are part of the 2023 FWAA All-America Team and presented with the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player, including Stone this week, will be added at that time.
Two plays in the second quarter showcased the all-around effort for the 6-3, 246-pound senior from San Jose, Calif. On back-to-back Wisconsin possessions, Stone sacked quarterback Tanner Mordecai while forcing fumbles on both plays. The second strip sack came at Wisconsin’s 2-yard line, and fellow edge Brennan Jackson picked up the loose ball and ran into the end zone, giving WSU a 24-6 lead with just over two minutes left in the first half.
Stone had five total pressures and recorded the first two-sack game of his career. WSU sources reported Stone also earned the best edge grade among Pac-12 players and the seventh-best edge grade in the nation over the weekend. Stone was named both the Pac-12’s Defensive Lineman of the Week and its Defensive Player of the Week, becoming only the fourth player to earn both awards in the same week since the conference’s lineman honor was created in 2019. Former Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists Tuli Tuipulotu of USC (2022) and Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux (twice in 2021) are among the others along with 2019 FWAA All-American Bradlee Anae of Utah (2019).
This is the second Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week honor for Stone, who also earned it in 2021. The last WSU player to win Defensive Lineman of the Week was Brennan Jackson in Week 11 of last season. Jackson is on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List, and Stone will now join him on that list going forward.
Washington State has not had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner or a finalist in its past. The only WSU designated defensive lineman to earn FWAA All-America honors was Rien Long in 2002. Lineman Wayne Foster (1965) and end Bill Steiger (1956) are former Cougars FWAA All-Americans from the two-way player era.
Washington State (2-0) hosts Northern Colorado at 5 p.m. ET Saturday on the Pac-12 Network.
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. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from the five finalists named in November. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.
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. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA includes college football’s most prestigious awards and its 24 awards have honored more than 900 recipients dating back to 1935. This season, 12 NCFAA awards will honor national players of the week each Tuesday. For more information about the NCFAA and its award programs, visit the redesigned NCFAA.org or follow on Twitter at @NCFAA.
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.
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.