Jordan Kunaszyk On Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List
DALLAS – Cal senior inside linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk has had a good week, picking up a spot Tuesday on the watch list released by the Football Writers Association of America for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy honoring the nation’s top defensive player. On Monday, he was selected to the preseason watch list for the 2018 Butkus Award® given annually to the nation’s outstanding collegiate and high school linebackers.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time.
The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 14. The winner will be announced at the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, on Dec. 3 at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Kunaszyk, who is also on the watch list for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, is one of seven Cal players to have earned spots on preseason watch lists or be recognized as candidates for national awards in 2018 with the others senior tight end Ray Hudson (John Mackey Award Watch List), senior running back Patrick Laird (Maxwell Award Watch List, Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® Nominee, Doak Walker Award Watch List), senior offensive tackle Patrick Mekari (Outland Trophy), junior wide receiver Kanawai Noa (Biletnikoff Award), senior center Addison Ooms (Rimington Trophy) and senior wide receiver Vic Wharton III (Biletnikoff Award).
Below are notes on Kunaszyk with an extended bio available by clicking on his name.
Jordan Kunaszyk, ILB, 6-3, 235, Sr., 2L, Sacramento, CA (American River College/Roseville HS)
• Played in nine games with five starts and led Cal with a career-high 74 tackles as a 2017 junior while adding 6.0 tackles for loss (-41 yards), 3.5 sacks (-37 yards), one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, two interceptions that he returned for a team-high 53 yards and one quarterback hurry
• Had a huge game as a junior in a win over No. 8 Washington State when he recorded 11 tackles as well as career highs of 2.5 sacks and tackles for loss (31 tackle for loss and sack yards), his lone career forced fumble, an interception and a quarterback hurry to become the first Cal player to earn Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week recognition among a host of honors
• Played in all 12 games off the bench in his first season at Cal as a 2016 sophomore and contributed 51 tackles
• Produced one of the biggest moments in Cal football history when he batted Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert’s pass into the air and eventually came up with the interception at the Cal 10-yard line on the game’s final play to seal a 52-49 double overtime victory over the Ducks
• Has played in 21 career games with six starts in two seasons at Cal after transferring following his 2015 freshman campaign at American River College, contributing 125 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss (-42 yards), 3.5 sacks (-37 yards), three interceptions that he has returned for 60 yards, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one quarterback hurry
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. The members of the NCFAA are unveiling preseason watch lists for 17 of their 24 awards over a 12-day period from July 16-27. Following is the entire 2018 preseason watch list calendar.
2018 Preseason Watch List Calendar
Monday, July 16 – Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award
Tuesday, July 17 – Davey O’Brien Award
Wednesday, July 18 – Doak Walker Award
Thursday, July 19 – Biletnikoff Award
Friday, July 20 – John Mackey Award, Rimington Trophy
Monday, July 23 – Thorpe Award, Butkus Award®
Tuesday, July 24 – Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Trophy
Wednesday, July 25 – Groza Award, Ray Guy Award
Thursday, July 26 – Hornung Award, Wuerffel Trophy
Friday, July 27 – Walter Camp Award