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Big Ten on Nagurski, Outland watch lists

6/21/2010

The Football Writers Association of America on Monday announced the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (nation's top defender) and the Outland Trophy (nation's top interior lineman). Not surprisingly, the Big Ten is well represented on both lists.

Here's the rundown:

BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY WATCH LIST

  • Wisconsin LB Chris Borland

  • Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

  • Ohio State DL Cameron Heyward

  • Ohio State LB Ross Homan

  • Michigan State LB Greg Jones

  • Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

  • Iowa S Tyler Sash

  • Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt

My take: You've got all of the usual suspects here from the Big Ten, although I was a little surprised to see both Wisconsin players make the list. Borland's phenomenal freshman season obviously got him some attention nationally, and I'm clearly not the only person who thinks Watt will have a big 2010 season. Borland and Watt were honorable mention All-Big Ten selections last year, while all the other watch list candidates made the first or second teams. Clayborn, Heyward and Jones are the Big Ten's top contenders for this award.

OUTLAND TROPHY WATCH LIST

  • Ohio State G Justin Boren

  • Ohio State C Mike Brewster

  • Ohio State G Bryant Browning

  • Wisconsin T Gabe Carimi

  • Iowa DT Karl Klug

  • Wisconsin T Josh Oglesby

  • Purdue G Ken Plue

  • Michigan G Stephen Schilling

  • Penn State G Stefen Wisniewski

My take: A few more surprises on this list. I don't know how you leave off John Moffitt. Oglesby boasts a ton of talent but still needs to prove himself on a consistent basis. Browning also was a bit of a surprise, as the FWAA obviously thinks the Ohio State offensive line will be much improved this fall. Michigan's Schilling is a solid choice, and teammate David Molk could be considered if he stays healthy. It's also interesting that Klug is the Big Ten's only defensive tackle on the list. The defensive tackle spot took a hit from graduation, as Penn State's Jared Odrick and others moved on. Players like Watt and Heyward should play more defensive end this fall after playing tackle for chunks of the 2009 season.