Big Ten: Bronko Nagurski Award

The preseason awards watch lists parade continues today with two pretty big honors: the Outland and Bronko Nagurski trophies.

The Outland Trophy honors the best interior lineman in the country, and the Big Ten usually produces several great players in the trenches. So it's no surprise to see the league place 12 players on the preseason watch list, second only to the SEC's 19. Penn State's Devon Still was a finalist last year for the Outland Trophy, which went to Alabama's Barrett Jones. Jones will try to join Nebraska's Dave Rimington as the only two-time Outland winner this season.

Here are the Big Ten players on the Outland list:
Some very solid candidates here. Lewan, Short and Wagner are going to be on a lot of preseason All-America lists, and guys like Spence, Hankins and Hill look like major breakout candidates. Of course, no one was really talking that much about Still at this time last summer, so don't be surprised if someone not on this list emerges as a star. The Big Ten should be very good on the lines again this season, if this list is an indication. The three Outland finalists will be named Nov. 1.

The watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy was also revealed. That award goes to the top defensive player in the nation. The Big Ten has 14 players on the list, again second only to the SEC's 19.
Again, there are some very strong candidates here. You get a sense of just how good Michigan State's defense can be this season with three Spartans on the list -- and linebacker Denicos Allen seems like a snub here for a fourth watch list member. Borland and Taylor were the league's top tacklers a year ago, while Simon, Short, Brown and Hodges should be among the best players at their positions in the country. The five Nagurski finalists will be announced Nov. 15.

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. 

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