Khalil Mack Named to Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List
DALLAS - Just a few days after his teammate and friend from across the line of scrimmage was named to the Maxwell Award watch list, junior linebacker Khalil Mack joined him on the national scene Thursday morning after earning a spot on the 84-man watch list for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy. The trophy honors the top defensive player in the nation and marks the first time ever that a Buffalo player has made the watch list.
Mack is one of three Mid-American Conference athletes on the list, as he joins defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix from Kent State and Bowling Green linebacker Dwayne Woods.
Running back Branden Oliver became Buffalo's first Maxwell Award (nation's top offensive player) watch list honoree in a national announcement on Monday.
Despite being the focal point of nearly every offense's blocking scheme, Mack led the team in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles in 2011. For his efforts, he was named to the All-MAC First Team and was tabbed by Sports Illustrated as an honorable mention All-American. He made 65 tackles, including 20.5 tackles for loss, which stood as the third most in the nation. Mack also added five forced fumbles (tied for eighth in the nation), brought down the quarterback for a sack 5.5 times and added 13 quarterback hurries overall.
After recording eight tackles, a sack, 3.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, an interception and three quarterback hurries against Stony Brook, he earned the MAC East defensive player of the week honors and College Football Performance Awards' Linebacker of the week.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented to the National Defensive Player of the Year by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Players may be added or deleted from the Bronko Nagurski Watch List during the season. For the 12th consecutive season, the FWAA will choose a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. If a recipient is not on the Watch List, he will be added. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 15.
The winner is chosen from five finalists who are part of the FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects the 25-man team and eventually the finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in America.
The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be Dec. 3 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC.
Click here for the complete watch list.