5 Tide Defenders On Nagurski List

Much has been made of the number of defensive stars gone from last year's Alabama football team that led the nation in every major statistical category en route to the national championship. Those losses included three first round draft choices. But that doesn't mean the Crimson Tide defensive cupboard is bare.

Alabama has five representatives on the 84-man watch list for this year's Bronco Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation's best defensive player.

Last year the Crimson Tide led the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense, pass defense efficiency, and total defense. That team included the likes of first round draft choices safety Mark Barron, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, along with BCS National Championship Game Defensive MVP Courtney Upshaw.

When the Bronco Nagurski Watch List was revealed Thursday it was an indication that Coach Nick Saban has plenty in the Bama reserve tank.

Named to the watch list are linebacker Nico Johnson, senior safety Robert Lester, junior cornerback Dee Milliner, junior linebacker C.J. Mosley, and senior nose tackle Jesse Williams.

The watch list includes 84 men, including 19 from the Southeastern Conference.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually to the player selected as the nation's best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America. It is presented by the Charlotte, N.C., Touchdown Club. Players made be added to the watch list during the season. The FWAA also chooses a weekly defensive player during the season. The five finalists will be announced Nov. 15 and the winner will receive his trophy at a banquet in Charlotte on Dec. 3.

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