Baylor’s Billings, Oakman Placed On Nagurski Trophy Watch List
Bears get duo on list for second-straight season.
DALLAS – Baylor junior defensive tackle Andrew Billings and senior defensive end Shawn Oakman earned spots on the 2015 Bronko Nagurski watch list, the Football Writers Association of America announced Friday. The Nagurski Trophy goes to college football's National Defensive Player of the Year.
Billings, a returning All-Big 12 lineman, was the starting nose tackle for all 13 games during 2014. He totaled 37 tackles (26 solo, 11.5 for loss of 38 yards), 2.0 sacks, nine hurries and one forced fumble on the season. The Waco, Texas, product ranked 12th in the Big 12 (third on team) with 11.5 tackles for loss and led BU with nine QB hurries.
Oakman, who was on the watch list in 2014, enters 2015 as a returning All-American. Last season, he started all 13 games, while setting a BU single-season record with 11.0 sacks and he ranked 15th nationally (second in Big 12) at 0.85 sacks per-game. Oakman ranked top 10 nationally in tackles-for-loss (1.5 per-game, 10th) and fumbles recovered (three, 10th).
He tallied consensus first-team All-Big 12 honors by totaling 51 tackles (38 solo), 19.5 tackles for loss (-89 yards), 11.0 sacks (-73 yards), nine QB hurries, three PBUs, three forced fumbles and three fumbles recovered on season.
It is the third watch list for Billings and the second for Oakman as both players made the Bednarik watch list on Monday and Billings was tabbed to the Outland list Friday.
This is the second-straight season that BU has had two players up the Nagurski Trophy as Bryce Hager joined Oakman on the 2014 edition of the watch list.
In total, there are 88 players on the Nagurski watch list, including 14 tackles and 21 ends. The BU duo is part of 11 athletes from the Big 12 Conference recognized on the award's watch list.
The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 19.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2015 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects the 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in college football during the FWAA’s 75th anniversary year.
The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Dec. 7 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. In addition to the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the CTC and Florida East Coast Railway. Ohio State’s Randy Gradishar, a member of the FWAA’s 1973 All-America team and a College Football Hall of Famer, will be honored. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.
The FWAA has named 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.
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