Rebels Make Nagurski, Outland Trophy Watch Lists

Robert Nkemdiche (photo by Joshua McCoy)

Robert Nkemdiche (photo by Joshua McCoy)

July 10, 2014

OXFORD, Miss. – The preseason honors are flooding in for Ole Miss football players this week.

On Thursday, sophomore defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was named to preseason watch lists for both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy, senior safety Cody Prewitt made the Nagurski list, and sophomore offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil made the Outland list.

Previously announced Ole Miss watch list members are Prewitt (Bednarik Award), Bo Wallace (Maxwell Award), Evan Engram (Mackey Award) and Deterrian Shackelford (Lott IMPACT Trophy).

Nkemdiche was a Freshman All-American last year when he posted 34 tackles, 8.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. He ranked second among SEC freshmen with 0.73 TFLs per game and also carried the ball five times on offense, gaining 32 yards. The Loganville, Georgia, native has already been tabbed a preseason All-America and All-SEC pick by multiple publications this year.

Prewitt earned first team All-America honors as a free safety last year when he led the SEC and ranked among the nation’s leaders with six interceptions. The Bay Springs, Mississippi, native has been tabbed by most of the preseason magazines to repeat as an All-American in 2014. He was also a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s top defensive back.

Tunsil exploded onto the college football scene last year as one of the top young offensive linemen in the country. He received All-SEC and Freshman All-America accolades after allowing just one sack all year as the team’s primary starter at left tackle. He has been tabbed a preseason All-America and All-SEC selection, as well.

2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually to the national defensive player of the year by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. Once again, the FWAA will choose a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. If not already on the watch list, the honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 20.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2014 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association's entire membership, selects the 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in America.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 8 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In addition to the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by Florida East Coast Railway. Maryland's Randy White, a member of the FWAA's 1974 All-America team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Alabama head coach Nick Saban will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

The FWAA has named 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. Pittsburgh tackle Aaron Donald won the award last season.

2014 Outland Trophy Watch List

The Southeastern Conference dominated the 2014 Outland Trophy Watch List with 19 players – at least eight more prospects than any of the seven other major-college conferences represented on the 64-man list released by the Football Writers Association of America.

The Outland Trophy has been awarded to the best interior lineman in college football since 1946. The winner is chosen from three finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 26-man first team and eventually the Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.

The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Nov. 20. Four days later, three Outland Trophy finalists will be named by the FWAA. The winner of the 69th Outland Trophy, named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Penn at the turn of the 20th century, will be announced on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 11 from Disney's Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the award last season.

The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 15, 2015, in Omaha, Nebraska. This year, Notre Dame's Ross Browner, the 1976 Outland Trophy winner, will be honored and presented an Outland Trophy, which was not given in the era in which he won the award.

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