2017 Bronko Nagurski Watch List Led By 20 Players From ACC

July 21, 2017 by FWAA

NOTE: CollegeFootballPoll.com's Dave Congrove is a member of the nominating panel of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

DALLAS - The 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List boasts 103 defensive standouts from all 10 Division I FBS conferences, including four returning players from last season’s Football Writers Association of America All-America team.

Christian Wilkins, a defensive tackle for defending national champion Clemson, and Florida State defensive back Tarvarus McFadden are the only 2016 FWAA first-teamers on the list. Two other 2016 second-teamers - Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Virginia linebacker Micah Kiser - are included along with NIU defensive back Shawun Lurry, a 2015 First-Team FWAA All-America player.

The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 20 players on the watch list, followed by the 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) and Conference USA (2). The list includes 30 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, 25 defensive ends and 19 defensive tackles, all vying for the award representing college football’s best defensive player.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous seasons, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thurs., Nov. 16.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists. 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. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Notre Dame’s Ross Browner, a member of the FWAA’s 1976 and 1977 All-America Teams, the 1976 Outland Trophy winner and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List (103)

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

By conference: 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.

By position: Backs 30, Linebackers 29, Ends 25, Tackles 19.

NOTE: Players may be added or removed from the list before or during the season