DALLAS, Texas - University of Texas senior LB Derrick Johnson has been named as one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football, the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club announced on Monday. Johnson, the Longhorns first Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist, joins Marshall DE Jonathan Goddard, Wisconsin DE Erasmus James, Georgia DE David Pollack and Auburn DB Carlos Rogers among the finalists for the honor that has been presented since 1993.
The FWAA, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, presents the Bronko Nagurski Trophy to the best defensive player in college football on Dec. 6 in Charlotte, N.C., at a gala awards banquet at the Westin Hotel. All five finalists will be on hand for the presentation.
Johnson, 6-4, 235-pound senior, also is a finalist for the 2004 Butkus (nation¹s top linebacker) and Lombardi Awards and is a semifinalist for the Bednarik (nation¹s top defensive player) award as well as the only defensive player listed among 10 players to watch for the Walter Camp Player of the Year honor. He leads Texas with 118 tackles this season and ranks third on the school¹s all-time tackle chart (446). The 2003 consensus first-team All-American and two-time first-team All-Big 12 pick has posted 17 tackles for loss, nine QB pressures, one interception, six pass breakups and a UT single-season record eight caused fumbles (T-No. 1 on the NCAA all-time single-season list) and earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors three times this season. With three TFLs at Kansas he increased his career total to 63 and eclipsed a UT all-time TFL record that stood for 22 years (60, Kiki DeAyala, 1979-82). Johnson also has posted nine career interceptions, a Longhorn record for LBs. His 28 career PBUs are a UT record for LBs while his 276 solo stops (No. 4 on the UT all-time list) and 10 fumble recoveries (T-No. 5 on the UT career chart) rank among UT¹s all-time top five.
Rogers, a 6-1, 194-pound senior, anchors an Auburn defense which ranks No. 8 nationally against the pass and is tops in the county in fewest points allowed per game. He ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in career pass deflections and is a lockdown corner, who has had only 21 percent of opponents' passes thrown his way.
The 6-4, 261-pound James, who was injured last season, is a disrupting force for a defense which ranks No. 3 in the country in allowing points per game and is No. 5 against the pass. He is a big-time sack artist and has been named Big Ten Player of the Week in back-to-back games.
Pollack, a Nagurski finalist as a sophomore in 2002, is tied for the sack lead in the SEC with 7.5 and is third in the SEC in tackles for loss. The 6-3, 276-pound senior could become only the second player in Georgia history to make All-America three straight seasons.
The 6-foot, 245-pound Goddard has been a one-man wrecking crew in some games this season. He has been amongst the top sack and tackles for loss leaders nationally all year. An example was against Ohio State when he had nine tackles (two for losses), and had a fumble return for touchdown in a 24-21 loss to the Buckeyes.