University of Louisville senior linebacker James Burgess and senior defensive end Sheldon Rankins were both named to the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List announced by the Football Writers Association of America on Friday.
Burgess started 12 games as a junior and finished third on the team with 71 tackles. He registered three sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and three interceptions in 2014. He has 170 career stops, including 21 tackles for a loss.
Rankins, who is also present on the Bednarik Award Watch List, led the Cardinals highly-rated defense with a career-best eight sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss in 2014. He also snagged a pair of interceptions as a junior. A Third Team All-ACC selection, Rankins has totaled 75 career stops, including 12 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss.
Also present on the 2015 Nagurski Watch List, which includes a total of 88 players, is the reigning award winner, Arizona junior linebacker Scooby Wright. Five FWAA second-teamer All-Americas from a year ago are also included: Michigan State end Shilique Calhoun, and defensive backs Kendall Fuller of Virginia Tech, Jeremy Cash of Duke, Jalen Ramsey of Florida State and Michael Caputo of Wisconsin.
The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 19 and the winner will be revealed at the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet on Dec. 7 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.