The Nagurski Trophy scoffs in the general direction of the Outland Trophy and its piddly 75-player watch list.
Given annually to the nation’s top defensive player, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy announced Thursday that a grand total of 81 players have been added to its preseason watch list. Just one of last year’s finalists appear on this year’s list, but that one is a fairly big one both literally and figuratively: South Carolina defensive end and preseason Heisman frontrunner Jadeveon Clowney.
The watch list this year is spread out fairly evenly among the three defensive positional groupings: 28 linebackers, 27 defensive linemen and 26 defensive backs.
Alabama and Stanford pace individual schools with four player each on the preseason watch list, while Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Texas and USC have three each. With two each, Arizona State, Florida, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon, TCU, Tennessee, Tulsa and Virginia Tech are the only other programs with more than one player.
As expected, the SEC tops all conferences with 16 players listed, followed by the Pac-12 (14), Big Ten (13), ACC (12), Big 12 (12).
Last year’s winner was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o.
And, as is always the case in a post such as this, the complete Nagurski watch list appears below: