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Who's college football's best defender? The 2013 Nagurski list

Compare this watch list with the Bednarik's, which aims to honor the same thing.

Will Sutton
Will Sutton

The Football Writers Association of America released its preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thursday. The award is meant to be given each year to college football's top defensive player.

Ricardo Allen, Purdue, DB Christian Jones, Florida State, LB
Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech, DL Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State, DB
Deion Barnes, Penn State, DL Eric Kendricks, UCLA, LB
Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State, DL Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State, DL
Anthony Barr, UCLA, LB Shaun Lewis, Oklahoma State, LB
Deion Belue, Alabama, DB Craig Loston, LSU, DB
Bene Benwikere, San Jose State DB Aaron Lynch, USF, DL
Greg Blair, Cincinnati, LB Khalil Mack, Buffalo, LB
Chris Borland, Wisconsin, LB Kareem Martin, North Carolina, DL
Tre Boston, North Carolina, DB Daniel McCullers, Tennessee, DL
Carl Bradford, Arizona State, LB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon, DB
Morgan Breslin, USC, DL James Morris, Iowa, LB
Jonathan Brown, Illinois, LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama, LB
Christian Bryant, Ohio State, DB Trent Murphy, Stanford, LB
Max Bullough, Michigan State, LB Marco Nelson, Tulsa, DB
Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, DL Louis Nix III, Notre Dame, DL
Ross Cockrell, Duke, DB Roosevelt Nix, Kent State, DL
Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma, DB Denzel Nkemdiche, Ole Miss, LB
Scott Crichton, Oregon State, DL Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College, LB
Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, DB Hayes Pullard, USC, LB
Quandre Diggs, Texas, DB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida, DB
Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh, DL Ed Reynolds, Stanford, DB
Dominique Easley, Florida, DL Bradley Roby, Ohio State, DB
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon, DB Marcus Rush, Michigan State, DL
Antone Exum, Virginia Tech, DB Tyler Scott, Northwestern, DL
Devonte Fields, TCU, DL Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, LB
Ben Gardner, Stanford, DL Shayne Skov, Stanford, LB
Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State, DB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut, LB
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama, DB Chris Smith, Arkansas, DL
Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota, DL Hakeem Smith, Louisville, DB
Bryce Hager, Baylor, LB Will Sutton, Arizona State, DL
Andre Hal, Vanderbilt, DB Damian Swann, Georgia, DB
Jordan Hicks, Texas, LB Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame, DL
Adrian Hubbard, Alabama, LB Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech, LB
Kerry Hyder, Texas Tech, DL Kyle Van Noy, BYU, LB
Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky, LB Jason Verrett, TCU, DB
Shawn Jackson, Tulsa, LB Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State, DB
Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas, DL Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest, DL
Timmy Jernigan, Florida State, DL Leonard Williams, USC, DL
A.J. Johnson, Tennessee, LB Ty Zimmerman, Kansas State, DB
Anthony Johnson, LSU, DL
By conference: SEC (16), Pac-12 (14), Big Ten (13), ACC (12), Big 12 (12), American Athletic (4), Independents (3), Conference USA (2), Mid-American (2), Mountain West (2), Sun Belt (1).
Players may be added or removed from the list before or during the season

The Nagurski Trophy is fairly young, first being awarded to Arizona defensive tackle Rob Waldrop in 1993. Only four schools can claim multiple winners, with Miami, Texas, Oklahoma and Northwestern each having two. Technically, Northwestern has one winner, but former linebacker and current head coach Pat Fitzgerald garnered the trophy in 1995 and '96. In 2012, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was given the honor.

Almost always awarded to a linebacker or defensive lineman, the Nagurski Trophy has been given to a defensive back just four times. Oklahoma cornerback Derrick Strait and Sooners safety Roy Williams were honored in 2003 and 2001, respectively. Georgia corner Champ Bailey won the award in 1998, and Michigan corner Charles Woodson took it home in '97.

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