DALLAS, Texas – For the second time this week, University of Hawai’i linebacker Jahlani Tavaiwas selected to the preseason watch list for an award given to the nation’s defensive player of the year. On Thursday, Tavai was among a group of 103 players named to the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.
The Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 16. The winner will be chosen from that group and will receive their award at the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, on Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Earlier this week, Tavai was named to the watch list of the Chuck Bednarik Award, also given to the nation’s top defensive player.
Tavai is one of five Mountain West defenders selected to the Nagurski Trophy Watch List joining Boise State nose tackle David Moa, Nevada defensive end Malik Reed, San Jose State defensive back Andre Chachere, and Wyoming safety Andrew Wingard.
The award is named 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.
Tavai, a junior from Inglewood, Calif., is the first UH defender selected to the preseason watch list for both the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy since Solomon Elimimian in 2008. Last season, Tavai earned first-team all-Mountain West honors after leading the league with 19.5 tackles-for-loss while his 129 total tackles tied for eighth most in program history.