||Ole Miss’ Golson named Nagurski Trophy finalist
DALLAS (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) — A sensational senior season has led to Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson being named one of five finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which honors the national defensive player of the year in college football.
The other finalists, announced Thursday by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, are Texas tackle Malcom Brown, Alabama safety Landon Collins, Louisville safety Gerod Holliman and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 8 and presented the Bronko Nagurski Trophy at a gala banquet sponsored by ACN at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Alabama coach Nick Saban will give the keynote address. This year's banquet marks the 20th anniversary of the event being held in Charlotte.
A native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Golson has had a breakout senior year leading the No. 1 scoring defense in the nation. He tops the SEC and ranks second nationally with nine interceptions, which are the second-most in a season at Ole Miss. He has had at least one interception in each of Ole Miss' last five SEC games. Golson's signature moment came against then-No. 1 Alabama, when he sealed the Rebels' 23-17 victory over the Crimson Tide with an interception in the end zone. He has 126 yards in interception return yardage (one touchdown), 29 tackles, seven pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.
The Rebels lead the nation by allowing just 11.9 points per outing and have surrendered a nation-low 13 touchdowns to opponents. As a team, Ole Miss ranks second nationally with 19 interceptions and top 10 in turnovers forced and total defense yards allowed.
Golson’s 15 career interceptions lead all players nationally and are tied for fourth-most in Ole Miss history. He is a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and Jim Thorpe Award.
The only other Nagurski Trophy finalist for Ole Miss was Patrick Willis in 2006.
"We have an outstanding group of finalists for the 2014 Bronko Nagurski Trophy and selecting a winner is a very difficult process given the impressive defensive performances of this group," said Kirk Bohls, 2014 FWAA President from the Austin American-Statesman. "I look forward to being in Charlotte on the evening of Dec. 8 to reveal the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy to a truly deserving individual during this, the 20th anniversary of the banquet."
The award is named after the legendary Bronko Nagurski, who dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle from 1927 through 1929. He could have been an All-American at any position and was the best player wherever the coaches put him.
Nagurski led Minnesota to the Big Ten title in 1927 and a three-year record of 18-4-2. He went on to lead the fabled Chicago Bears to three NFL titles. During one game at Wrigley Field, he once broke a defensive player's shoulder, knocked another out and ran into a brick wall and actually cracked it during a game-winning touchdown run.
The FWAA has named a National Defensive Player of the Year since the 1993 season. Texas has had two previous winners of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy: Derrick Johnson in 2004 and Brian Orakpo in 2008. Arizona's Rob Waldrop won the inaugural FWAA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1993 before the announcement was moved to Charlotte. Louisville's previous winner was Elvis Dumervil in 2005. Alabama and Ole Miss have never had a winner.