Awards watch: Nagurski eyes three Bucks
July, 11, 2013
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The wait is almost over. The season is finally creeping up again, and the annual release of preseason watch lists for the biggest awards in college football confirms it -- and helps provide a useful distraction during the final month leading up to the start of training camp. BuckeyeNation will be tracking all the Ohio State players being tracked by the various committees and will be handicapping their odds of bringing trophies back to campus along the way.
BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY
Greg Bartram/US PresswireChristian Bryant (2) and Ryan Shazier (10), along with Bradley Roby, have a chance to compete for the Nagurski Trophy.
- What: The national defensive player of the year
- On the list: Ohio State safety Christian Bryant, cornerback Bradley Roby and linebacker Ryan Shazier
- Credentials: The spotlight has already been shining brightly on Roby and Shazier for awards for top defenders, but this time a little bit of attention is spilling over for Bryant. Despite numbers that put him among the most prolific producers on the roster heading into the season, the senior safety has often been overlooked. In fact, he might be better known for his trash talk and a handful of personal fouls last season than for a tackle total that ranked second only to Shazier and his four forced turnovers. Bryant isn't likely to climb above either Roby or Shazier in the minds of voters for national awards, and he probably won't be any higher than third as a defensive MVP for the Buckeyes at the end of the season. But that's not a problem for Ohio State, obviously, because he makes for a pretty talented No. 3.
- Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other defenders being watched by the committee at this point -- Ricardo Allen (Purdue), Deion Barnes (Penn State), Chris Borland (Wisconsin), Jonathan Brown (Illinois), Khalil Mack (Buffalo), James Morris (Iowa), Tyler Scott (Northwestern).
- Odds: Shazier has the best chance to rack up the kind of statistics needed to impress voters, and based on what he did while spending half of the season somewhat slowed by injury, the junior should be able to do just that. Truthfully, he had the numbers of an award-winning linebacker a year ago, but few people nationally seemed to take much notice. That won't be the case this season as a centerpiece for a team coming off an unbeaten season and looking to compete for a national title. That, and the combination of his past success, Ohio State's record and increased offseason hype, could vault Shazier into contention for hardware.
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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Eastern Illinois 20 Minnesota 42 Final Rutgers 41 Washington State 38
Final Penn State 26 UCF 24 Final Youngstown State 17 Illinois 28 Final Indiana State 10 Indiana 28 Final Northern Iowa 23 Iowa 31 Final Appalachian State 14 Michigan 52 Final 5 Ohio State 34 Navy 17 Final Western Michigan 34 Purdue 43 Final Florida Atlantic 7 22 Nebraska 55 Final California 31 Northwestern 24 Final James Madison 7 Maryland 52 Final 14 Wisconsin 24 13 LSU 28