July 10, 2014
DALLAS - Baylor linebacker Bryce Hager and defensive end Shawn Oakman are both included on the 2014 Bronko Nagurski watch list, the Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday. The Nagurski Trophy goes to college football's National Defensive Player of the Year.
It is the second watch list that both players have been recognized on, after the duo made the Bednarik watch list on Monday.
Hager, a senior, is a two-time All-Big 12 honoree with 35 career games played and 19 career starts. In 2013, he started nine games before suffering a season-ending injury. The Austin, Texas, product still managed 71 tackles (46 solo, 2.5 for loss), one sack, 10 hurries, three breakups, one fumble recovery and one return TD. He led the Big 12 in tackles in 2012 with 9.5 per game.
Last season, Hager became the first Baylor player to be on the Nagurski Trophy watch list since Joe Pawelek received the distinction in 2009.
Oakman, a junior, earned All-Big 12 accolades last season while serving as a reserve in all 13 games. He totaled 33 tackles (21 solo), 12.5 tackles-for-loss of 32 yards, two sacks (-10 yards), two QB hurries, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick on the season. The former Penn State transfer is listed as a starter for 2014.
In total there are 81 players on the Nagurski watch list, including 24 linebackers and 23 ends. The BU duo is part of 13 athletes from the Big 12 Conference recognized on the award's watch list.
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.
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.
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