Nelson named to Nagurski watch list

ABOUT THIS TIME last year, Oregon State was just hoping cornerback Steven Nelson could step in and play well enough his first year out of junior college not to be a liability. Nelson did much more than that, going on to have a rock solid season. And now, Nelson has been named to the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, awarded to the nation's best defensive player.

Steven Nelson, who transferred to Oregon State in 2013, earned a starting spot five games into last season. He recorded six interceptions on the season to tie for second in the nation including a game-winning touchdown return in the waning moments at San Diego State.

He led the Beavers’ cornerbacks with 62 tackles despite starting only nine games and earned Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention.

He was among 17 players from the Pac-12 Conference and 81 overall nominated for the Nagurski Trophy.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. The FWAA will choose a Bronko Nagurski 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 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 20.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2014 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 annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held Dec. 8 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In addition to the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by Florida East Coast Railway.

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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