The Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list was released this morning and to nobody’s surprise South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is the headliner. The junior is coming off of a 13-sack season and is the overwhelming favorite to win the Nagurski Trophy which is awarded to the player adjudged by the Football Writers Association of America to be the best defensively in the NCAA.
Clowney made the watch lists earlier this week for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards and could conceivably pull off a clean sweep of all three awards. This would be the second year in a row this achievement has happened after it had never been done before until Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o pulled off the trifecta last year.
The SEC placed 16 on the watch list in addition to Clowney, and here are the rest of the nominees grouped by their school:
Deion Belue, HaHa Clinton-Dix, Adrian Hubbard and C.J. Moseley, Alabama
Dominique Easley and Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Anthony Johnson and Craig Loston, LSU
Daniel McCullers and A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
Andre Hal, Vanderbilt
Chris Smith, Arkansas
Damian Swann, Georgia
Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State
Five finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 21 with the winner named on Dec. 9.
The SEC has won the award on two previous occasions, most recently in 2007 when LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey helped lead the Tigers to the BCS National Championship. The only other winner from the conference was Georgia’s Champ Bailey in 1998 when the All-American corner also recorded 47 catches for 744 yards and five touchdowns on offense and was an electric return man.
To the surprise of nobody my prediction for the Nagurski is Clowney, and the only thing that will prevent him from winning the trophy named after former Minnesota and Chicago Bears defensive tackle and fullback is a potential injury.
Nagurski is a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and widely considered one of the pioneers of the game along with Jim Thorpe and Red Grange.