Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
My recent travels have caused me to fall behind on my award watch list updates, so excuse this one for coming a bit late.
The Bronko Nagurski Award watch list is out and includes seven Big Ten players. The award, presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, goes to the nation's best defensive player. Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis was the most recent Big Ten recipient, taking home the hardware in 2006.
Here are the Big Ten candidates for 2009:
Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman
Ohio State safety Kurt Coleman
Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham
Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones
Penn State linebacker Sean Lee
Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick
Northwestern defensive end Corey Wootton
Other leagues have more representatives on the list, but few groups of defenders stack up to the Big Ten's. All seven of these players have impressive résumés and could be factors in the final selections. If I had to pick a favorite among the Big Ten's group, I'd go with Bowman.
Check out the full watch list here.
Players not on the watch list will be added if they're named Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week this fall. Five finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 18 or 19, and the winner will be named Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C.