FWAA Announces 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List
92 Players Listed for Defensive Player of the Year Award
The Football Writers Association of America released its 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List today, selecting 92 defensive standouts from 65 schools in all 10 Division I FBS conferences plus independents on a roster that includes four returning players from last season’s FWAA All-America team.
Grant Delpit, a junior safety from LSU, tops the list as the lone returning Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist and FWAA first-team All-American from last season. Joining him on the list are three other returning 2018 FWAA second-team All-Americans in Virginia cornerback Bryce Hall, Michigan State defensive end Kenny Willekes, and Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo.
Alabama leads the team count with four representatives – linebackers Anfernee Jennings and Dylan Moses, end Raekwon Davis and cornerback Trevon Diggs. In addition to Delpit, LSU boasts linebacker Jacob Phillips and cornerback Kristian Fulton on the list to tie Iowa State, Notre Dame and Penn State with three members each. There are 16 schools with two members on the list.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday this 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 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 20.
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.
This year’s watch list includes at least four players from eight of the 10 FBS conferences. The SEC (18) and Big Ten (15) have the most members and combine to make up more than one-third of the 92-man list. The ACC and Pac-12 (12 each) and Big 12 (11) also have double-digit representation, followed by the American Athletic (6), Independents (5), Conference USA (4), Mountain West (4), Mid-American (3) and Sun Belt (2). The list includes 36 linebackers, 28 backs, 21 ends and seven tackles.
2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Preseason Watch List (92)
DB DeMarkus Acy, Missouri DE Mustafa Johnson, Colorado
DB Paulson Adebo, Stanford DE Patrick Johnson, Tulane
DE Bradlee Anae, Utah LB Clay Johnston, Baylor
LB Rayshard Ashby, Virginia Tech DB Brandon Jones, Texas
LB Joe Bachie, Michigan State LB Antonio Jones-Davis, NIU
DE JaQuan Bailey, Iowa State DE Khalid Kareem, Notre Dame
LB Markus Bailey, Purdue LB Nate Landman, Colorado
DB Essang Bassey, Wake Forest LB Sage Lewis, FIU
LB Shaun Bradley, Temple DT Ray Lima, Iowa State
DB Antoine Brooks Jr., Maryland LB Bryan London II, Texas State
LB Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech LB Jordan Mack, Virginia
DT Derrick Brown, Auburn DT Justin Madubuke, Texas A&M
DB Myles Bryant, Washington DB Kevin McGill, Eastern Michigan
DB Andre Cisco, Syracuse DB Josh Metellus, Michigan
DE Nick Coe, Auburn LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
LB Carter Coughlin, Minnesota LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
DB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi St DE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame
DE Raekwon Davis, Alabama LB Micah Parsons, Penn State
DB Grant Delpit, LSU LB Jacob Phillips, LSU
DB Trevon Diggs, Alabama LB Shaquille Quarterman, Miami
DE Victor Dimukeje, Duke DB J.R. Reed, Georgia
LB Troy Dye, Oregon DB Elijah Riley, Army
LB Cooper Edmiston, Tulsa DB Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech
DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa LB Merlin Robertson, Arizona State
LB Jordan Fehr, Appalachian State DE Alton Robinson, Syracuse
LB Paddy Fisher, Northwestern LB Colin Schooler, Arizona
DB Jordan Fuller, Ohio State DT Jordon Scott, Oregon
DB Kristian Fulton, LSU LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
LB Lawrence Garner, Old Dominion LB Marcel Spears, Iowa State
LB Cale Garrett, Missouri DB Caden Sterns, Texas
DE Jonathan Garvin, Miami LB Darrell Taylor, Tennessee
DE Joe Gaziano, Northwestern LB Kyahva Tezino, San Diego State
DB Alohi Gilman, Notre Dame DE Xavier Thomas, Clemson
DB Jeff Gladney, TCU LB Erroll Thompson, Mississippi State
DB Richie Grant, UCF DT Khyiris Tonga, BYU
DB A.J. Green, Oklahoma State DE Jay Tufele, USC
DE Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State LB Mykal Walker, Fresno State
DB Javon Hagan, Ohio DE Curtis Weaver, Boise State
DB Bryce Hall, Virginia LB Evan Weaver, California
LB Ky’el Hemby, Southern Miss DB James Wiggins, Cincinnati
DB CJ Henderson, Florida DE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State
DB Lavert Hill, Michigan DT Marvin Wilson, Florida State
DE Wyatt Hubert, Kansas State DT Robert Windsor, Penn State
LB Bryce Huff, Memphis LB David Woodward, Utah State
LB Anfernee Jennings, Alabama DE Chase Young, Ohio State
DB Jaylon Johnson, Utah DE Jabari Zuniga, Florida
By conference: SEC 18, Big Ten 15, ACC 12, Pac-12 12, Big 12 11, American Athletic 6, Independents 5, Conference USA 4, Mountain West 4, Mid-American 3, Sun Belt 2.
By position: Linebackers 36, Backs 28, Ends 21, Tackles 7.
Players may be added or removed from the list before or during the season
The 25th Annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 9 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate former UCLA All-American Jerry Robinson, the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is the keynote speaker.
The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the NCFAA.
About the Football Writers Association of America
Founded in 1941, the non-profit Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) consists of more than 1,300 members, including journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives in all areas of college football. Led by current President Matt Fortuna of The Athletic, longtime Executive Director Steve Richardson, and a board of veteran journalists, the association continues to grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. Visit footballwriters.com for more information about the FWAA and its award programs.
Frank Coyle is a long-time scout with nationwide ties with NFL and college coaches, scouts and player agents. He has published draftinsiders.com for 28 years including a 250 page Yearbook with 300 in-depth scouting reports. Long-time scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game and member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards – Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 25+ years.