July 11, 2013
DALLAS - Baylor junior linebacker Bryce Hager tallied his second preseason watch list honor in four days by earning a spot on the 2013 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, the Football Writers Association of America announced Thursday.
The product of Austin, Texas was placed on the watch list for the Bednarik Award on Monday.
Hager joins 80 other players listed on this season's watch list for the Nagurski Trophy, which is presented annually to the national defensive player of the year by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Hager is one of 12 Big 12 players on the list and one of 27 linebackers from across the country. He is the first Baylor player to be on the Nagurski Trophy Award watch list since Joe Pawelek received the honor in 2009.
Last season, Hager led the Big 12 with 9.5 tackles-per-game, while starting at middle linebacker in 10 of 13 games for the Bears. He posted 124 tackles with 72 of those being solo stops. Hager had 9.5 tackles for 44 yards in losses, while recording four sacks, eight QB hurries and two forced fumbles.
In his best game of the year, Hager tallied a career-high 16 tackles against Oklahoma. He went on to record eight or more tackles in the last four games of 2012 to give him a 10.2 tackles-per-game average over the year's final five games.
For his efforts, Hager was named to the All-Big 12 second team by the league's coaches and the Associated Press.
The five finalists for the Nagurski Trophy will be announced on Nov. 21, and the winner will be chosen from those five finalists. The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 9 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.
Other Big 12 players on the list include: Calvin Barnett (Oklahoma State), Aaron Colvin (Oklahoma), Quandre Diggs (Texas), Devonte Fields (TCU), Justin Gilbert (Oklahoma State), Jordan Hicks (Texas), Kerry Hyder (Texas Tech), Shaun Lewis (Oklahoma State), Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas), Jason Verrett (TCU) and Ty Zimmerman (Kansas State).
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