Tubbs, Johnson Named To Nagurski Watch List

Senior DT <B>Marcus Tubbs </B>and junior LB <B>Derrick Johnson </B>have been named to the 2003 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list of 36 candidates honoring the nation's top defensive player.

Tubbs was named the Longhorns Outstanding Defensive Lineman last season despite missing three games and five starts because of injury. He was credited with 43 tackles, 2.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss and 14 QB pressures in 2002, while head coach Mack Brown said he was virtually unstoppable during spring drills. The 6-4, 305-pounder has 130 tackles, 10 sacks, 29 TFLs, 39 QB pressures, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 33 career games (22 starts).

Johnson is on the Nagurski preseason watch list for the second straight year and became just the second player in school history to earn a spot among the Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) semifinalists in 2002. After posting 120 tackles, two sacks, 13 TFLs, 10 QB pressures, four interceptions and 10 pass breakups last season, Johnson emerged this spring as the vocal leader of the defense by taking on the presence and persona that former DE Cory Redding brought to the unit, Brown said. The Sporting News' National Freshman of the Year in 2001, Johnson earned consensus first-team All-Big 12 honors last season. The 6-4, 220-pounder has 203 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 26 TFLs and 19 QB pressures in 25 career games (15 starts).

The only other Big 12 school with Nagurski candidates is Oklahoma, which actually placed four on the Watch List (Brandon Everage, DB; Tommie Harris, DT; Teddy Lehman, LB; Derrick Strait, DB).

In November, the 800-member Football Writers Association of America will select five finalists and the trophy will be presented to the winner at a banquet on December 8 in Charlotte, N.C. The Charlotte Touchdown Club, a non-profit organization that raises funds for scholarships, has presented the trophy each year since 1995.

The 2002 winner was Arizona State DE Terrell Suggs. Of last season's five Bronko Nagurski finalists, only Georgia defensive end David Pollack returns for the 2003 season.

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