DALLAS (FWAA) - Five finalists for the 2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, including last season's winner James Laurinaitis of Ohio State, were announced on Thursday by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Vying for the honor of the best defensive football player in college football are Laurinaitis, LSU tackle Glenn Dorsey, Virginia end Chris Long, South Florida end George Selvie and Kansas cornerback Aqib Talib.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 3 and presented the Bronko Nagurski Trophy at a gala banquet at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C., where Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer will give the keynote address.
In addition, the FWAA and Charlotte Touchdown Club will present the first Bronko Nagurski Legends Award presented by CSX Intermodal to members of the Michigan State and Notre Dame football teams who played to the historic 10-10 tie in 1966.
The FWAA award is named after Nagurski, who dominated college football at Minnesota as a bruising fullback and tackle from 1927-29. He could have been an All-America at any position, playing 60 minutes and was the best player wherever he lined up.
Laurinaitis, a 6-3, 240-pound junior linebacker from Hamel, Minn., will spearhead the Buckeyes' defense in their showdown with Michigan on Saturday.
He was named Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week this season for his inspiring career- high, 19-tackle performance in the Buckeyes' 38-17 victory over Wisconsin. This season, Laurinatis has eight tackles for 32 yards in losses and 97 total tackles for the once-beaten Buckeyes. He will seek to join Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald (1995-96) as the second player to win back-to-back Nagurski Trophies.
Dorsey, a 6-2, 303-pound senior from Gonzales, La., has been a stalwart on top-ranked LSU's line the entire season. He has 53 total tackles (33 unassisted) and 11.5 tackles for 62 yards in losses. He has three pass break-ups and four quarterback hurries.
Long, a 6-4, 284-pound senior from Ivy, Va., and son of former NFL great Howie Long, has been instrumental in three Virginia road victories this season. He scored a safety in Virginia's 18-17 victory over Maryland; his 25-yard interception return set up the Cavaliers' winning field goal in a 22-20 victory over North Carolina; and his blocked field goal preserved Virginia's 23-21 victory over Middle Tennessee. On the season, Long has 69 total tackles (30 unassisted), 17 tackles for 114 yards in losses and seven pass break- ups for Virginia, 9-2.
Selvie, a 6-4, 242-pound sophomore from Pensacola, Fla., with 53 total tackles (41 unassisted), leads the country in tackles for loss (30.5) for 138 yards. He is two shy of breaking the NCAA record. Of those tackles for loss, 14.5 are sacks. He has 10 quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and one blocked kick for the Bulls, 7-3, who still have two regular-season games remaining.
Talib, a 6-2, 205-pound junior from Richardson, Texas, leads the Big 12 Conference in passes defended. He has 48 tackles (31 unassisted), 3.5 tackles for eight yards in losses, four interceptions (135 return yards) and 11 pass break-ups for the unbeaten Jayhawks. He returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown against Florida International. He also is known as a hard-hitter, knocking Oklahoma State receiver Adarius Bowman out of the Jayhawks' most recent victory.