Cam Smith named to Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list

University of South Carolina defensive back Cam Smith is one of 85 defensive standouts from 61 schools in all 10 Division I FBS conferences plus independents named to the 2022 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced today.

Smith, a 6-0, 188-pounder redshirt junior from Blythewood, S.C., earned second-team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press a year ago after leading the team with 14 passes defended, including three interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He allowed multiple catches in just two of 11 games played and only 15 catches on 32 targets throughout the season. He has been listed on multiple pre-season All-SEC and All-America teams this summer. He was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list on Monday. The Thorpe Award recognizes the nation’s top defensive back.

The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2022 trophy on Nov. 16 and the winner will be unveiled Dec. 5 at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.

There are 25 linebackers on the watch list, 18 safeties, 17 defensive ends, 13 cornerbacks and 12 tackles.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday this season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time.

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.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses college football’s most prestigious awards. The NCFAA’s 25 awards have honored more than 800 recipients since 1935.

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