Ngata finalist for Award

EUGENE – University of Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is one of five finalists for the 2005 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the top defensive player in the country by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

The 6-5, 338-pound junior from Salt Lake City, Utah, becomes the first player in school history to be selected a finalist for the nation's top defensive player award, which originated in 1993.

Ngata is the only underclassman to advance to the Nagurski Trophy's final five, which is voted upon by members of the Football Writers Association, with the winner announced at the awards banquet in Charlotte, N.C., on Dec. 5. In addition, he was the only finalist west of the Mississippi River.

The remaining four finalists include defensive end Elvis Dumervil of Louisville, end Tamba Hali of Penn State, linebacker DeMeco Ryans of Alabama and cornerback Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech.

Ngata is currently ranked second in the Pacific-10 Conference in tackles among defensive linemen (54) and tied for third overall among the Ducks' defenders. He posted a career-high 11 tackles in Oregon's 27-20 overtime win over California, in addition to batting down two passes, to claim the Pac-10's defensive player-of-the-week honors. He has tallied tackles for losses in nine of Oregon's first 10 games, with his season statistics also including nine tackles for losses, three quarterback sacks, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and two blocked kicks.

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