Mountain West Football: Seven Named To Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List
Seven players from the Mountain West are included on the preseason list of college football’s most outstanding defensive players.
Still plenty of good defenders in the conference.
Watch list season rolled on this morning with the reveal of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy roll call. The award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player, features seven athletes from the Mountain West on this year’s list.
A pair of San Diego State defenders, linebacker Caden McDonald and safety Patrick McMorris, are featured after anchoring one of the Group of 5’s top units a year ago. McDonald finished 2021 with 49 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and two passes defended, while McMorris, recently named a preseason co-defensive player of the year by Mountain West media members, posted a team-best 90 tackles to go along with 2.5 tackles for loss, nine passes defended, and four interceptions.
San Jose State also landed a pair of players on the list, linebacker Kyle Harmon and defensive end Viliami Fehoko. Harmon, making his second watch list appearance after landing on the Butkus Award roll call yesterday, finished second in the Mountain West last season with 135 total tackles while also contributing 6.5 tackles for loss and a sack to the Spartans defense. Fehoko, meanwhile, broke out as a pass rushing star by leading the team with 12.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
Air Force linebacker Vince Sanford appears here after stepping up as a dynamo disruptor in his own right last year. He collected 59 total tackles but led the Falcons with 9.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss and forced four fumbles, as well.
Two safeties, Boise State’s JL Skinner and Fresno State’s Evan Williams, also made another watch list appearance together after being the only two Mountain West players on the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award list yesterday. In 2021, they both posted exactly 92 total tackles for the Broncos and Bulldogs, respectively, but Skinner also contributed eight tackles for loss and two interceptions while Williams posted 4.5 tackles for loss, six passes defended, and three interceptions.
Last year’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner was Alabama’s Will Anderson.