DALLAS – Five finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy were announced on Thursday by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Vying for the honor of National Defensive Player of the Year are, in alphabetical order: Texas tackle Malcom Brown, Alabama safety Landon Collins, Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson, Louisville safety Gerod Holliman and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 8 and presented the Bronko Nagurski Trophy at a gala banquet sponsored by ACN at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Alabama coach Nick Saban will give the keynote address. This year’s banquet marks the 20th anniversary of the event being held in Charlotte.
In addition, the FWAA and Charlotte Touchdown Club will hand out the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award presented by Florida East Coast Railway. This year’s winner is Maryland’s College Football Hall of Famer Randy White, a member of the FWAA’s 1974 FWAA All-America team and later an All-Pro for the Dallas Cowboys.
“We have an outstanding group of finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy and selecting a winner is a very difficult process given the impressive defensive performances of this group,” said Kirk Bohls, 2014 FWAA President from the Austin American-Statesman. “I look forward to being in Charlotte on the evening of Dec. 8 to reveal the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy to a truly deserving individual during this, the 20th anniversary of the banquet.”
The award is named after the legendary Bronko Nagurski, who dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle from 1927 through 1929. He could have been an All-American at any position and was the best player wherever the coaches put him.
Nagurski led Minnesota to the Big Ten title in 1927 and a three-year record of 18-4-2. He went on to lead the fabled Chicago Bears to three NFL titles. During one game at Wrigley Field, he once broke a defensive player’s shoulder, knocked another out and ran into a brick wall and actually cracked it during a game-winning touchdown run.
The FWAA has named a National Defensive Player of the Year since the 1993 season. Texas has had two previous winners of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy: Derrick Johnson in 2004 and Brian Orakpo in 2008. Arizona’s Rob Waldrop won the inaugural FWAA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1993, before the announcement was moved to Charlotte. Louisville’s previous winner was Elvis Dumervil in 2005. Alabama and Ole Miss have never had a winner.
A look at the five 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists, as selected by the FWAA All-America Committee:
Malcom Brown, DT, Texas (6-2, 320, Jr., Brenham, Texas): Brown leads the Longhorns with 6.5 sacks, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by a tackle in a dozen years in Austin. Brown paces the squad in 14 tackles for loss and six quarterback pressures. He also has forced two fumbles and recovered one. He had two sacks and forced a fumble in Texas’ 28-7 victory at Oklahoma State that made the Longhorns (6-5) bowl eligible last Saturday. Texas is one of only five teams nationally that has held at least three FBS teams to seven points or less in a game this season. Texas has allowed just five offensive touchdowns in the first half this season.
Landon Collins, S, Alabama (6-0, 222, Jr., Geismar, La.): Collins is part of a unit that ranks second nationally in scoring defense (14.5 points a game) and sixth in total defense (290.5 yards a game). He leads the Crimson Tide with three interceptions and has added five pass breakups. Collins is also second on the team in tackles with 68, including 35 unassisted, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries. Alabama has posted two shutouts (59-0 vs. Texas A&M and 41-0 vs. Florida Atlantic. No team had scored more than 23 points on the Crimson Tide through the first 10 games of the season.
Senquez Golson, CB, Ole Miss (5-9, 176, Sr., Pascagoula, Miss.): Golson leads the SEC and ranks second nationally with nine interceptions, which are the second most in a season at Ole Miss. He has had at least one interception in each of Ole Miss’ last five SEC games. Golson’s signature moment came against then-No. 1 Alabama, when he sealed the Rebels’ 23-17 victory over the Crimson Tide with an interception in the end zone. He has 126 yards in interception return yardage (one touchdown), 29 tackles (23 unassisted), seven pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.
Gerod Holliman, S, Louisville, (6-0, 206, Jr., Miami, Fla.): Holliman picked off three passes – the second-most in school history for a single game – in the Cardinals’ 38-19 victory at Boston College. The three interceptions gave him a school record of 13 for the season and tied the ACC record set by North Carolina State’s David Amerson in 2011. Holliman leads the nation in interceptions this season, one away from tying the NCAA single-season record. Holliman has one touchdown and 180 yards in interception return yardage. He has 31 tackles (25 unassisted), two tackles for minus-10 yards, three pass breakups and one forced fumble.
Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona (6-1, 246, So., Windsor, Calif.): Wright has 117 tackles, 21.0 tackles for 78 yards in losses, 12.0 sacks for 61 yards in losses, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He has a tackle for loss in all 10 games. Among FBS players, he ranks No. 4 in total tackles, No. 1 in tackles for loss per game, No. 3 in sacks and No. 1 in forced fumbles. With a 27-26 win over Washington last Saturday, Arizona captured its first eight-victory regular season since finishing 11-1 in 1998. Wright made 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss of five yards against the Huskies.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,400 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 gameday 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 or 214-870-6516.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. The NCFAA encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The 21 awards boast 699 years of tradition-selection excellence. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
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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. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or email@example.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.
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