University of South Carolina senior linebacker Skai Moore is one of 103 candidates named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy preseason watch list, it was announced today. The Nagurski Trophy goes to the nation’s best defensive player, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Moore, a 6-2, 218-pounder from Cooper City, Fla., returned to the field in the spring after taking a redshirt year in 2016 due to a neck injury. The most decorated returning player on the Gamecocks’ roster, Moore was named preseason second-team All-SEC by Athlon. He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2015 by both the AP and the league’s coaches. Moore has tallied 260 career tackles, needing 47 to move into the school’s all-time top-10. He led the team in tackles for three-consecutive seasons from 2013-15, becoming the first player to do so since Tony Watkins from 1992-94, and could become the first Gamecock to lead the team in tackles in four seasons, a feat that has been done just 14 times in NCAA Division I history. Moore also owns 11 career interceptions, tying for third on the all-time list and just three shy of Bo Davies’ school record of 14. The senior linebacker was named to the Bednarik watch list earlier this week.
The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thursday, November 16.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football. The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Monday, December 4, at the Charlotte Convention Center.
The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.