Malone Named to Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.WKU Football senior DeAngelo Malone earned a spot on the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, the FWAA, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, announced Tuesday. It is the second preseason watch list for Malone, who on July 13 was honored by the Bednarik Award, which recognizes he most outstanding defensive player in college football.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993; in 1995, the award was named in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota, Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski, who is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Malone is only 1-of-23 defensive ends and 1-of-7 from Conference USA out of 98 total players on the initial list. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the five Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.

En route to becoming the first Hilltopper to be voted C-USA Defensive Player of the Year since joining the league prior to the 2014 campaign, Malone helped anchor the conference’s top scoring defense in 2019. He produced 99 total tackles – including 21 for loss – with 11.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.

The Atlanta, Ga., native set the WKU FBS Era record (since 2009) in tackles for loss, while becoming only the fourth defender in all-time Hilltopper history with double-digit quarterback takedowns. Meanwhile, his 99 total tackles were the third-most by an FBS defensive lineman in a single-season over the past decade.

Among all returning players to college football in 2020, Malone ranks fourth with 11.5 sacks and third with 21 tackles for loss. In addition, he is only 1-of-3 returning conference Defensive Players of the Year out of the 10 FBS leagues.