MO State HS Sports

Two Defenders Tabbed For Nagurski Trophy Watch List

2022 Mizzou FB Helmet vs. Kentucky

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri defenders Kris Abrams-Draine and Ty’Ron Hopper were among 94 players named to the initial watch list for the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced Tuesday. 

Both players earned Preseason Second-Team All-Southeastern Conference honors from the league’s media. 

Abrams-Draine was second in the SEC a year ago with 14 pass breakups, a mark which tied for ninth nationally and was the third-best, single-season effort in Mizzou history. He also earned preseason First-Team All-SEC honors from Phil Steele and Fourth-Team All-SEC accolades from Athlon Sports. 

Athlon made Hopper a preseason Third-Team All-America selection and a First-Team All-SEC honoree. He earned Phil Steele Third-Team Preseason All-SEC awards. He was graded as the No. 2 returning linebacker in the league by PFF College – behind teammate Chad Bailey.

The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2023 trophy on Nov. 15 and the winner will be unveiled Dec. 4 at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.

The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from the five finalists named in November. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.

The FWAA has chosen 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.

Mizzou will open the season on Thursday, August 31, against South Dakota at Memorial Stadium.

Season tickets for the 2023 campaign are on sale now! The Tigers’ robust home schedule features games against Kansas State, LSU, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida. 

Purchase your 2023 season tickets, mini plans or single-game tickets now by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS or buying online. Fans interested in learning more about available seats can fill out an interest form.

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics