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July 10, 2015

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia free safety Quin Blanding and cornerback Maurice Canady were named to the 2015 preseason Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced Friday. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club award the Nagurski Trophy annually to the nation’s best defensive player.

Blanding (So., Virginia Beach, Va.), who was named to the Bednarik Award Watch List earlier this week, was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 after finishing the regular season No. 2 in the ACC with 123 tackles, while also leading the nation’s freshmen. Blanding also was named Scout.com’s National Defensive Rookie of the Year, while also earning numerous Freshman All-America distinctions from various outlets, including by Athlon Sports. Blanding was also named a 2015 preseason All-American by Athlon Sports (third-team) and Phil Steele (fourth-team).

Canady (Sr., Richmond, Va.) was a second-team All-ACC performer in 2014 after making 37 tackles, breaking up 12 passes and recording three interceptions. His 12 pass breakups ranked No. 2 in the ACC.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. Once again, the FWAA will choose a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. If not already on the watch list, the honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 19.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2015 FWAA All-America team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects the 26-man All-America team and eventually the Nagurski finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in America.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 7 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In addition to the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Ohio State’s Randy Gradishar, a member of the FWAA’s 1973 All-America team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.

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.

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