As the watch lists continue to roll out, so does the naming of USC’s athletes to them: on Thursday, defensive Trojans Hayes Pullard, Morgan Breslin and Leonard Williams were named to the Bronko Nagurski Watch List, given to the NCAA’s defensive player of the year.
Aside from the trio of Trojans, a number of Pac-12ers are also in contention for this esteemed award. With Ben Gardner, Trent Murphy, Ed Reynolds and Shayne Skov all listed, Stanford has the most athletes in the running. ASU’s standout lineman Will Sutton also headlines this bunch, followed by Anthony Barr (UCLA), Carl Bradford (ASU), Scott Crichton (Oregon State), Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (Oregon), and Eric Kendricks (UCLA).
The Pac-12 has the second-most representatives listed to the Nagurski watch list (14), after the SEC, which has 16.
Since 1993, the Football Writers Associate of America has named the best collegiate defensive player, in honor of Nagurski, a legendary two-way athlete for the University of Minnesota. Players can be added or removed from the list as the season goes on, with it ultimately being whittled down to five finalists to be announced in November. On Dec. 9, the award will be given to one of the finalists, who is also apart of the FWAA All-American team.
Though a number of Trojans have been nominated, none have ever brought home the Nagurski award to Troy.
This is the second watch list for both Williams and Breslin as earlier this week they were named to the Bednarik Award watch list, also given to the nation’s best defensive player.
For a complete look at the nominees for the Nagurski Award, click here.