The award, named after Hall of Famer and University of Minnesota and Chicago Bears star Bronko Nagurski, recognizes the best all-around defensive players throughout the year with the Bronko Nagurski Player of the Week. In November, five finalists will be selected by the FWAA All-America committee and the trophy will be presented to the winner at a banquet on December 8 in Charlotte, N.C.
The Watch List serves as guide to the best players in the game and is updated each week during the college football season. Of last season's five Bronko Nagurski finalists, only Georgia defensive end David Pollack returns for the 2003 season. It is the 11th straight year the FWAA has honored the Defensive Player of the Year.
The 800-member Football Writers Association of America selects the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list candidates, identifies the players of the week and names the trophy winner. The Charlotte Touchdown Club, a non-profit organization that raises funds for scholarships, has presented the trophy each year since 1995.
The distinguished recipients who have been awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy in past years include the following: Rob Waldrop (1993), Warren Sapp (1994), Pat Fitzgerald (1995 and '96), Charles Woodson (1997), Champ Bailey (1998), Corey Moore (1999), Dan Morgan (2000), and Roy Williams (2001). The 2002 winner was Terrell Suggs, a defensive end from Arizona State University.