This week, Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown was named to the preseason watch lists for the Nagurski Award and Bednarik Award.
The Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the National Defensive Player of the Year and was won last season by South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney.
The Bednarik Award is given to the best defensive player by the Maxwell Football Club. Brown is looking to become the first Big Ten player to win both awards since Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh in 2009.
At the end of last season, Jonathan Brown was a Butkus Award semifinalist and honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. He led the Illini with 59 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks before having his season cut short via injury.
This upcoming season is a very important one for Jonathan Brown. He will be looking to have the same (if not better) numbers than he had during his 2011 breakout season.
In 2011, he earned All-Big Ten honors with 108 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and six sacks while being ranked sixth in the nation in TFLs per game (1.63) and led the Big Ten in TFLs per game during conference play (2.07).
Other notable Big Ten players on the Nagurski Watch List include:
- Ricardo Allen, Purdue, DB
- Deion Barnes, Penn State, DL
- Chris Borland, Wisconsin, LB
- Christian Bryant, Ohio State, DB
- Max Bullough, Michigan State, LB
- Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State, DB
- Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota, DL
- James Morris, Iowa, LB
- Bradley Roby, Ohio State, DB
- Marcus Rush, Michigan State, DL
- Tyler Scott, Northwestern, DL
- Ryan Shazier, Ohio State, LB
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