Like the Bednarik Award, the Nagurski Award is given to the best defensive player in college football. Why are there two awards given out for the same thing? Because it's college football. And it can do what it wants.
The difference is the two groups that vote for the winners of each award. College head coaches, members of the Maxwell Football Club, and sport writers and broadcasters from all over the country, vote the Bednarik on. There is bound to be some overlap because the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) gives out the Nagurski award.
Regardless, the names on each watch lists are nearly identical, however, only eight times since 1993 has the award has been given to the same player. Manti Te'o won both last year.
|2013 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST (81)|
|Ricardo Allen, Purdue, DB||Christian Jones, Florida State, LB|
|Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech, DL||Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State, DB|
|Deion Barnes, Penn State, DL||Eric Kendricks, UCLA, LB|
|Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State, DL||Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State, DL|
|Anthony Barr, UCLA, LB||Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State, LB|
|Deion Belue, Alabama, DB||Craig Loston, LSU, DB|
|Bene Benwikere, San Jose State DB||Aaron Lynch, USF, DL|
|Greg Blair, Cincinnati, LB||Khalil Mack, Buffalo, LB|
|Chris Borland, Wisconsin, LB||Kareem Martin, North Carolina, DL|
|Tre Boston, North Carolina, DB||Daniel McCullers, Tennessee, DL|
|Carl Bradford, Arizona State, LB||Terrance Mitchell, Oregon, DB|
|Morgan Breslin, USC, DL||James Morris, Iowa, LB|
|Jonathan Brown, Illinois, LB||C.J. Mosley, Alabama, LB|
|Christian Bryant, Ohio State, DB||Trent Murphy, Stanford, LB|
|Max Bullough, Michigan State, LB||Marco Nelson, Tulsa, DB|
|Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, DL||Louis Nix III, Notre Dame, DL|
|Ross Cockrell, Duke, DB||Roosevelt Nix, Kent State, DL|
|Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma, DB||Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss, LB|
|Scott Crichton, Oregon State, DL||Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College, LB|
|Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, DB||Hayes Pullard, USC, LB|
|Quandre Diggs, Texas, DB||Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, DB|
|Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh, DL||Ed Reynolds, Stanford, DB|
|Dominique Easley, Florida, DL||Bradley Roby, Ohio State, DB|
|Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon, DB||Marcus Rush, Michigan State, DL|
|Antone Exum, Virginia Tech, DB||Tyler Scott, Northwestern, DL|
|Devonte Fields, TCU, DL||Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, LB|
|Ben Gardner, Stanford, DL||Shayne Skov, Stanford, LB|
|Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State, DB||Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut, LB|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama, DB||Chris Smith, Arkansas, DL|
|Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota, DL||Hakeem Smith, Louisville, DB|
|Bryce Hager, Baylor, LB||Will Sutton, Arizona State, DL|
|Andre Hal, Vanderbilt, DB||Damian Swann, Georgia, DB|
|Jordan Hicks, Texas, LB||Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame, DL|
|Adrian Hubbard, Alabama, LB||Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech, LB|
|Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech, DL||Kyle Van Noy, BYU, LB|
|Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky, LB||Jason Verrett, TCU, DB|
|Shawn Jackson, Tulsa, LB||Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State, DB|
|Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, DL||Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest, DL|
|Timmy Jernigan, Florida State, DL||Leonard Williams, USC, DL|
|A.J. Johnson, Tennessee, LB||Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State, DB|
|Anthony Johnson, LSU, DL|
|By conference: SEC (16), Pac-12 (14), Big Ten (13), ACC (12), Big 12 (12), American Athletic (4), Independents (3), Conference USA (2), Mid-American (2), Mountain West (2), Sun Belt (1).|
|Players may be added or removed from the list before or during the season|
Since we covered mostly defensive backs on the Bednarik watch list post, let's touch on a few defensive linemen.
As is the case with the Bednarik, Jadeveon Clowney is the favorite and the only finalist from last year's Nagurski Award vote on this year's watch list.
Some of the top defensive linemen (that I didn't mention on the Bednarik list) on the Nagurski list include:
- DE/DT Stephon Tuitt, 6-6 303 lbs, Jr, Notre Dame: Tuitt and fellow watch lister Louis Nix anchor what could be the best defensive line in the country. Tuitt plays inside and outside for the Irish and led the team with 12 sacks in 2013.
- DT Timmy Jernigan, 6-2, 298 lbs, Jr, Florida State: Jernigan is light on his feet for his size and reminds me a lot of Sharrif Floyd. Has 76 career tackles including 14 for loss in just two years as a part time player. Jernigan will finally start at FSU this season.
- DT, Anthony Johnson, 6-3, 305 lbs, Jr, LSU: Johnson is intriguing and might only be on the list because he plays defensive tackle at LSU. He's been a rotational player during his first two years on campus but has shown flashes that have earned previous LSU DTs a lot of money in the first round of the NFL draft.
- DE, Aaron Lynch, 6-6, 262 lbs, rSo, South Florida: After sitting out the 2012 season after transferring from Notre Dame, Lynch has a lot of scouts talking heading into 2013. In his only season in college football, Lynch started six games at Notre Dame in 2011 and led Irish in sacks with 5.5. He transferred to South Florida after becoming homesick and looks to continue his impressive performances.
- DE, Jackson Jeffcoat, 6-5, 245 lbs, Sr, Texas: Jeffcoat hasn't quite turned into the pass rusher most thought he would, at least not yet. If there is anyone in college football that has the make-up and athleticism to be a top tier pass rusher, it's Jeffcoat.