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2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List and Projections

Since 1993, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been awarded annually to the best defensive college football player in the nation. The award is based on votes by select members of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) who presents the award along with the Charlotte Touchdown Club. College football players will be added and removed from the list until the FWAA determines the top-five finalists. The FWAA also selects the 26-man All-American Team.

2017 Bronko Nagurski Preseason Watch List

Player Position School
Jaire Alexander DB Louisville
Marcus Allen DB Penn State
Dorance Armstrong Jr. DE Kansas
Dravon Askew-Henry DB West Virginia
Alex Aukerman LB Army
Genard Avery LB Memphis
Drew Bailey DT Louisville
Jerome Baker LB Ohio State
Quin Blanding DB Virginia
Eric Boggs LB Appalachian State
Nick Bosa DE Ohio State
Blace Brown DB Troy
Jason Cabinda LB Penn State
Steve Casali LB Umass
Andre Chachere DB San Jose State
Sean Chandler DB Temple
Bradley Chubb DE North Carolina State
Jack Cichy LB Wisconsin
Aikeem Coleman DE Idaho
Duke Dawson DB Florida
D’Cota Dixon DB Wisconsin
Tremaine Edmunds LB Virginia Tech
Duke Ejiofor DE Wake Forest
Emmanuel Ellerbee LB Rice
Rashaan Evans LB Alabama
Rashard Fant DB Indiana
Folorunso Fatukasi DT Uconn
Jaylon Ferguson DE Louisiana Tech
Minkah Fitzpatrick DB Alabama
Marcell Frazier DE Missouri
Greg Gaines DT Washington
Rashan Gary DE Michigan
Will Geary DT Kansas State
Ulysees Gilbert III LB Akron
Rasheem Green DT USC
Shaquem Griffin LB UCF
Chase Hansen DB Utah
Heath Harding DB Miami (Ohio)
Ronnie Harrison DB Alabama
Marquis Haynes DE Ole Miss
James Hearns LB Louisville
B.J. Hill DT North Carolina State
Travin Howard LB TCU
Sam Hubbard DE Ohio State
Malik Jefferson LB Texas
Josey Jewell LB Iowa
Jordan Jones LB Kentucky
Arden Key LB LSU
Micah Kiser LB Virginia
Harold Landry DE Boston College
Justin Lawler DE SMU
Dexter Lawrence DT Clemson
Tyquan Lewis DE Ohio State
James Loney DE California
Lowell Lotufelei DT Utah
Shawun Lurry DB Northern Illinois
Iman Marshall DB USC
Hercules Mata’afa DE Washington State
Tarvarus McFadden DB Florida State
Quenton Meeks DB Stanford
David Moa DT Boise State
Skai Moore LB South Carolina
Nyles Morgan LB Notre Dame
Deatrick Nichols DB South Florida
Derrick Nnadi DT Florida State
Kendrick Norton DT Miami
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo LB Oklahoma
Ed Oliver DT Houston
Da’Ron Payne DT Alabama
Shaquille Quarterman LB Miami
Taylor Rapp DB Washington
Jeremy Reaves DB South Alabama
D.J. Reed DB Kansas State
Malik Reed DE Nevada
Steven Richardson DT Minnesota
Malcolm Roach DE Texas
Ja’Von Rolland-Jones DE Arkansas State
Auggie Sanchez LB South Florida
Tegray Scales LB Indiana
Deadrin Senat DT South Florida
Conor Sheehy DE Wisconsin
K.J. Smith DE Baylor
Cameron Smith LB USC
Josh Sweat DE Florida State
Jahlani Tavai LB Hawaii
Chad Thomas DE Miami
Micah Thomas LB Navy
Jordan Thomas DB Oklahoma
Trent Thompson DT Georgia
Kevin Toliver DB LSU
Vita Vea DT Washington
Azeem Victor LB Washington
Reggie Walker DE Kansas State
Christian Wilkins DT Clemson
Andrew Wingard DB Wyoming
Jaden Wright DB New Mexico State
Jabari Zuniga DE Florida

Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald is the only player to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy twice. There’s a lot of new prospects on this year’s watch list as only four players on the list were All-Americans last season. Florida State defensive back Tarvarus McFadden and Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins were first-team All-Americans. Virginia linebacker Micah Kiser and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver were FWAA second-team All-Americans last season. NIU defensive back Shawun Lurry was a first-team All-American in 2015. All seven FBS conferences and Independent schools are represented to the watch list. Here’s a breakdown of which conferences had the most players selected to the year’s Bronko Nagurski Preseason Watch List.

Conference # of Players
ACC 20
Big Ten 16
SEC 14
Pac-12 13
Big 12 11
American Athletic 10
Sun Belt 6
Mountain West 5
Independents 3
Mid-American 3
Conference USA 2

Tarvarus McFadden looks to be a solid front runner to win the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Last season, McFadden tied for first in the NCAA with 8 interceptions. One player to keep an eye on is Boston College defensive end Harold Landry. Landry led all of college football last season with 16.5 total sacks and 15 sacks were solo. Landry hasn’t received a lot of hype, but he definitely will be on the short list if he can put up similar numbers for the 2017 college football season. Here’s our projected short list of which five college football players that will be in contention for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy come December.

Tarvarus McFadden FSU

McFadden is a nightmare for any quarterback in college football.

  1. Harold Landry
  2. Tarvarus McFadden
  3. Tegray Scales
  4. Christian Wilkins
  5. Minkah Fitzpatrick

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be awarded on Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart will be the keynote speaker. Along with awarding this season’s best college football player, the event will also award former Notre Dame defensive end Ross Browner the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award. Browner was a two-time All-American, 1976 Outland Trophy winner, and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.


One Comment

  1. Denise Frantz

    July 18, 2017 at 8:53 pm


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