July 8, 2016
Charlottesville, Va. – Virginia free safety Quin Blanding and inside linebacker Micah Kiser have been named to the 2016 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.
Both Blanding and Kiser have previously been named this summer to the 2016 Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List. Blanding was on the 2015 preseason Nagurski Trophy Watch List as a sophomore.
Blanding (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.), a second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honoree last year, returns for his junior season in 2016. Blanding started all 12 games and finished the year No. 2 in the ACC with 9.58 tackles per game.
Kiser (Jr., Baltimore, Md.) was a first-team All-ACC honoree after leading the league with 9.75 tackles per game as a sophomore. Kiser started all 12 games and along with Blanding became the nation’s only defensive duo to finish the year ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in tackles for their respective conferences.
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 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 17.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2016 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. 5 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In addition to the 2016 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. Navy’s Chet Moeller, a member of the FWAA’s 1975 All-America Team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe 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.