ACN Bronko Nagurski Report — Sept. 10

broko logosSince 1995, the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club have partnered to bring you the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner each year.  The Best Defensive Player in the entire country is announced at the Westin Hotel in downtown Charlotte each December before sellout crowds, with this year’s 21st  straight banquet, sponsored by ACN and slated for Dec. 7. Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn will deliver the keynote speech.

Five finalists for the award, named after the legendary Minnesota Gopher and Chicago Bears lineman, will  appear on stage before the winner is announced by 2015 FWAA President Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald. During the evening, the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by East Coast Railways, will also be feted–Ohio State linebacker Randy Gradishar (1971-73).

Arizona’s junior linebacker  Scooby Wright III will attempt to become only the second player to win back-to-back Nagurski Trophies after Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald in 1995 and 1996. Wright is just the second sophomore to win the award after Ohio State linebacker James Laurinatis in 2006.

The weekly ACN Bronko Report will bring to you updates on what is happening on the defensive side of the ball during the 2015 season, top matchups and also provide links to stories on Bronko Nagurski Alumni and occasional feature stories about current top defensive players who might wind up in Charlotte the first week of December


Michigan State end Shilique Calhoun and the Spartan defense vs. the Oregon offense will present one of the more interesting matchups during the college season when the offensive minded Ducks and Eastern Washington transfer quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. come to East Lansing. Last season, Michigan State dropped a 46-27 decision to eventual Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the Ducks in Eugene.  The Spartans are fresh off a 37-24 victory at Western Michigan, in which the defense sacked the quarterback seven times for 39 yards in losses. Calhoun had one sack for minus-9 yards. Michigan State’s junior linebacker Riley Bullough had three sacks for 15 yards in losses . Adams was knocked out of Oregon’s 61-42 victory over Eastern Washington when he was hit.  He finished with 246 yards passing and a couple of touchdowns before he was hurt. He had 94 yards rushing. But he will be available against Michigan State, he says.


 Adam Zucker Selected Master of Ceremonies


Gus Malzahn named keynote speaker for 2015 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet

Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet Reservation Form


West Virginia safety Karl Joseph picked off three passes and came up with four total turnovers as the Mountaineers rolled to a 44-0 season-opening win over Georgia Southern. Joseph’s domination on defense earned him the AutoNation FWAA Defensive Player of the Week honor.

Joseph, a 5-11, 197-pound senior from Orlando, Fla., had more interceptions (3) than Georgia Southern had completions (2) in the game, all of them coming in the third quarter. Joseph killed the Eagles’ first two possessions of the second half with picks inside Georgia Southern territory, the second of which the Mountaineers punched in for a 23-0 lead that broke the game open.

When Georgia Southern threatened the shutout late in the quarter at the West Virginia 28, it was Joseph again who ended the drive with his third interception. Joseph’s line for the third quarter was 4.5 tackles and three interceptions. He also recovered a fumble in the first quarter, and finished the game with seven solo tackles (eight total).

“I have never given anybody a game ball, but I gave him one down there in the locker room,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “He’s the inspirational leader with what we are trying to do. It’s been fun to watch him mature and grow up. He has played over 3,000 snaps in three years, and for him to take the next step to be the inspirational leader on defense and be the guy that I trust to stand in front of the room and talk and motivate everyone is great. He’s a pretty motivated young man.”


San Diego State junior linebacker Calvin Munson: He recorded a team-high 11 tackles, made two interceptions and returned both for touchdowns of 19 and 67 yards. He had 2.5 tackles for loss in San Diego State’s 37-3 victory over San Diego. He became the first player in school history and fourth since the inception of the Mountain West in 1999 to have two interceptions returned for touchdowns in a single game.

South Carolina junior linebacker Skai Moore: Moore intercepted two passes, both in the end zone, in South Carolina’s 17-13 victory over North Carolina in Charlotte, N.C. It was the third time in Moore’s career that he has had two interceptions in a game. “Skai (Moore) can pick the ball off, he does it in practice all the time,” South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said. “He has a knack for watching the quarterback. Those are the plays that won the game.” Moore also led the Gamecocks with 10 total tackles (six assisted, four unassisted). He had no return yards on either interception.

Temple senior linebacker Tyler Matakevich:  He tied an American Athletic Conference record with three sacks in a victory over Penn State. His performance was part of the Owls’ 10-sack performance.  Temple limited Penn State to 10 points and 180 yards of offense in the 27-10 victory, the first over the Nittany Lions since 1941. Matakevich finished with seven tackles against Penn State. He has 362 career tackles, the most among active FBS players.

Georgia State  junior safety Bobby Baker: Baker leads the FBS in fumble recoveries after making three in Georgia State’s game against Charlotte at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.  Baker also chipped in two interceptions, giving him five turnovers on the day. He is also tied in the FBS for first nationally in interceptions made after one week of play. Baker also made eight tackles, six unassisted in Georgia State’s narrow 23-20 loss.


Missouri’s Kentrell Brothers impressing coaches


2014 Bronko Nagurski winner Scooby Wright of Arizona.

2014 Bronko Nagurski winner Scooby Wright III of Arizona.

Arizona’s junior linebacker Scooby Wright III, the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, will have to overcome a first-game injury to repeat as the Best Defensive Player in college football. He went down with a left knee injury midway through the first quarter of the Wildcats’ 42-32  season-opening victory over Texas-San Antonio on Sept. 3. He tried to return later in the game, but the unanimous 2014 All-America couldn’t.

“Scooby is out three or four weeks after his scope, which went well,” Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez said this past Monday. “Hopefully we’ll get him back in a few weeks. Based on what we knew Saturday night, three to four weeks is a best case scenario for Scooby. I’m not a doctor, I’m just telling you what they’ve told me is that he has a meniscus lateral tear. He got scoped on Saturday. It’ll be three to four weeks for recovery and whatever limits they give him as far as recovery and treatment, he’ll stretch them to their limits. That’s just Scooby’s personality. We’ll probably still take him on the road so he can get treatment with the trainers.”


NCAA Current FBS Sack Leaders

NCAA Current FBS Solo Tackle Leaders

NCAA Current FBS Tackles for Loss Leaders

NCAA Current FBS Total Tackle Leaders



Andrew Billings, Baylor

Kenny Clark, UCLA

Maliek Collins, Nebraska

Sheldon Day, Notre Dame

Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech

Chris Jones, Mississippi State

Gerrand Johnson, Louisiana-Monroe

Luther Maddy, Virginia Tech

Corey Marshall, Virginia Tech

Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

Travis Tuiloma, BYU

Adolphus Washington, Ohio State

Anthony Zettel, Penn State

ENDS (21)

Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Joey Bosa, Ohio State

DeForest Buckner, Oregon

Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State

Kamalei Correa, Boise State

Ken Ekanem, Virginia Tech

Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Jordan Jenkins, Georgia

Bronson Kaufusi, BYU

Carl Lawson Auburn

Shawn Oakman, Baylor

Pat O’Connor, Eastern Michigan

Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

Drew Ott, Iowa

Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech

Sheldon Rankins, Louisville

Pete Robertson, Texas Tech

Ian Seau, Nevada

Charles Tapper, Oklahoma

Lawrence Thomas, Michigan State


Dominique Alexander, Oklahoma

Kendell Beckwith, LSU

Vince Biegel, Wisconsin

Kentrell Brothers, Missouri

James Burgess, Louisville

Su’a Cravens, USC

Ed Davis, Michigan State

Kyler Fackrell, Utah State

Leonard Floyd, Georgia

Myles Jack, UCLA

Darron Lee, Ohio State

Curt Maggitt, Tennessee

Blake Martinez, Stanford

Tyler Matakevich, Temple

Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn

Antonio Morrison, Florida

Jared Norris, Utah

Joshua Perry, Ohio State

Reggie Ragland, Alabama

Jovan Santos-Knox, UMass

Joe Schmidt, Notre Dame

Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

Terrance Smith, Florida State

Eric Striker, Oklahoma

Jeremy Timpf, Army

Scooby Wright III, Arizona

BACKS (31)

Budda Baker, Washington

Dante Barnett, Kansas State

Vonn Bell, Ohio State

Quin Blanding, Virginia

Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Minnesota

Maurice Canady, Virginia

Michael Caputo, Wisconsin

Lloyd Carrington, Arizona State

Jeremy Cash, Duke

Tony Conner, Mississippi

Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech

Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida

Adoree’ Jackson, USC

William Jackson, Houston

Jonathan Jones, Auburn

Karl Joseph, West Virginia

William Likely, Maryland

Jordan Lucas, Penn State

Danzel McDaniel, Kansas State

Adrian McDonald, Houston

Jalen Mills, LSU

Fabian Moreau, UCLA

Eric Murray. Minnesota

Jalen Ramsey, Florida State

Will Redmond, Mississippi State

KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame

Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma

Jordan Simone, Arizona State

Darian Thompson, Boise State

Xavier Woods, Louisiana Tech

Ronald Zamort, Western Michigan

Conference Breakdown:  SEC (20), Big Ten (17),  ACC (13), , Pac-12 (12), Big 12 (11), Independents (7), Mountain West (4), American (3), Mid-American (3), Conference USA (1), Sun Belt (1).

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 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 or 214-870-6516.


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 The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is

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