Mortensen Named To Nagurski Award Watch List

May 12, 2008

<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas linebacker Joe Mortensen has been named to the Watch List for the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive player in college football.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Mortensen, a senior-to-be, earned All-Big 12 First Team honors a year ago. Earlier this off-season he was named to the watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award. That honor is given to the nation’s top defensive player, who plays on the defensive line or within five yards of the football.

Mortensen led the Jayhawks in tackles a year ago with 106, while ranking ninth in the Big 12 and 97th in the NCAA in tackles per game at 8.15. He also tied for second in the Big 12 and 54th in the NCAA in tackles for loss with 1.15 per contest.

Last season, former Jayhawk Aqib Talib was one of five finalists for the Nagurski Award, which was won by LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. Talib was a first-round NFL draft choice by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this spring.

The preseason watch list includes 88 players, including 2006 winner and 2007 finalist James Laurinaitis from OhioState and George Selvie, a 2007 finalist from South Florida.

The Football Writers Association of America selects the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner from the association’s 11-man All-America defensive team in November. The watch list was developed by the FWAA All-America committee with the help of the schools and conferences.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been presented since 1993 and is awarded in memory of the legendary Nagurski, a former All-America lineman at Minnesota in 1927-29 and a star for the professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s.

A complete list of players on the watch list can be found at