CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Three Hurricanes were selected Thursday to the watch list for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Award, honoring the nation’s top defensive player, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced.
Junior lineman Kendrick Norton, sophomore linebacker Shaquille Quarterman and senior lineman Chad Thomas were among the group of 103 defensive standouts named to the list.
Thomas becomes the sixth Hurricane to pick up accolades this preseason; Norton and Quarterman were both named to the Bednarik Award Watch List earlier this week, while senior kicker Michael Badgley (Lou Groza Award), senior tight end Christopher Herndon IV (Mackey Award) and running back Mark Walton (Maxwell Award) have also been recognized with preseason accolades. Norton was additionally selected Thursday to the watch list for the Outland Trophy, honoring the nation’s top interior lineman.
As a sophomore in 2016, Norton received All-ACC third-team honors after starting every game on the defensive line. Norton posted 39 total tackles, tied for third on the team with 10.0 tackles for loss and registered a pair of sacks. A Jacksonville, Fla., native, Norton added one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.
A Freshman All-American by several publications a year ago, Quarterman delivered a standout first season for the Hurricanes in 2016. The Florida native started all 13 games and ranked second on the team with 84 tackles, including 43 solo stops. He also finished with 10.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and earned All-ACC third-team honors.
Thomas enjoyed a breakout season for Miami in 2016, as he started 12 games on the defensive line and ranked second among all defensive players with 11.0 tackles for loss. Thomas, who had 4.5 sacks and added three pass breakups, finished with 37 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the year.
The Atlantic Coast Conference led all conferences with 20 players on the watch list, followed by the Big Ten (16), SEC (14), Pac-12 (13), Big 12 (11), American Athletic (10), Sun Belt (6), Mountain West (5), Independents (3), Mid-American (3) and Conference USA (2). The list includes 30 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, 25 defensive ends and 19 defensive tackles, all vying for the award representing college football’s best defensive player.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous seasons, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the 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 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thurs., Nov. 16.
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.
The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Notre Dame’s Ross Browner, a member of the FWAA’s 1976 and 1977 All-America Teams, the 1976 Outland Trophy winner and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.
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 college football’s most prestigious awards. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 23 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.
The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.