Barron named Nagurski Trophy finalist

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Alabama safety Mark Barron was selected as one of five finalists for the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which goes to the Football Writers Association of America National Defensive Player of the Year.

Barron is joined by LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still.

"It is a great honor to be recognized as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy," Barron said on Thursday after learning of his selection. "My goal is to go out each week and help my team win football games, and it is exciting to be honored for doing my job.

"Being named a finalist is something that I would not have been able to achieve without a great group of guys on defense that work hard and push each other every day. Honors like this come when you win games and have one of the top-rated defenses in the country, so the credit goes to my team and coaches. I'm just representing them as a Nagurski finalist."

Barron, a senior from Mobile, Ala., is second on the team with 55 total tackles. He has four tackles for loss and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. Barron has also broken up five passes, recovered a fumble against Penn State and recorded on quarterback hurry. He is the Tide's active leader in career tackles (226), passes defended (34) and interceptions (12).

The winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is presented by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, will be announced on Dec. 12 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Former Florida defensive end Jack Youngblood will also be honored with the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award that night.

The FWAA's National Defensive Player of the Year Award is named after Bronko Nagurski, who dominated college football at the University of Minnesota as a bruising fullback and defensive tackle from 1927-29. He could have been an All-American at any position, playing 60 minutes as the best player wherever he lined up.