J.R. Reed

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Big Ten and SEC each land two Bronko Nagurski finalists

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The final list of players left in the running for the Bronko Nagurski Award for the 2019 season has been released by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Two players from the Big Ten and two from the SEC are joined by one player from the ACC.

Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Georgia safety J.R. Reed, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, Minnesota defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr., and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young are the five finalists for the award for best defensive player in college football.

The winner for this year’s Nagurski Award will be announced at a banquet on Dec. 9. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is the keynote speaker for the banquet this year and former UCLA linebacker Jerry Robinson will be honored as this year’s Bronko Nagurski Legends Award winner.

Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen won the Nagurski Award last season. Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State all have had one player win the Naruski Award before. Champ Bailey won the award for Georgia in 1998. Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis won the award in 2006. Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers won the award in 2010. Auburn and Minnesota have never had a Bronko Nagurski Award winner and hope to add their first this season. Other past winners include Pitt’s Aaron Donald, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, Boston College’s Luke Kuechley, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs, Michigan’s Charles Woodson, and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald. The current head coach of the Northwestern Wildcats is the only two-time winner of the award, having done so in 1995 and 1996.

Jim Thorpe Award watch list recognizes 35 top defensive backs

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Alongside the release of the Butkus Award watch list on Monday came the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award. On it appeared 35 names deemed to be the nation’s top defensive backs in the nation with players from 11 conferences.

The ACC, Big Ten, Conference USA, Pac-12, and SEC each had four players named to the initial watch list, which can have players added to it as the season progresses. The AAC, Big 12, Mountain West Conference, and Sun Belt each had three players named, and the MAC had two more players mentioned.

Last year’s winner of the Jim Thorpe Award was Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama.

2018 Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Dravon Askew-Henry, West Virginia
DeAndre Baker, Georgia
Kris Boyd, Texas
Blace Brown, Troy
Kyron Brown, Akron
T.J. Carter, Memphis
Justin Clifton, Arkansas State
Lukas Denis, Boston College
D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin
David Dowell, Michigan State
Clifton Duck, Appalachian State
Mike Edwards, Kentucky
Jordan Fuller, Ohio State
Kyle Gibson, UCF
Mark Gilbert, Duke
Malik Grant, Marshall
Lavert Hill, Michigan
Javon Hagan, Ohio
Tyler Horton, Boise State
Michael Jackson, Miami
Jah’Shawn Johnson, Texas Tech
Jaquan Johnson, Miami
Shelton Lewis, Florida Atlantic
Julian Love, Notre Dame
Iman Marshall, USC
Byron Murphy, Washington
Kekoa Nawahine, Boise State
Delvon Randall, Temple
Taylor Rapp, Washington
J.R. Reed, Georgia
Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech
Marvell Tell III, USC
Greedy Williams, LSU
Andrew Wingard, Wyoming
Jalen Young, Florida Atlantic