Auburn football's Braden Smith named to Outland Trophy watch list

Courtesy USC Athletics

Courtesy USC Athletics

Sooners corner back Jordan Thomas and linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo have been named to the Nagurski watch list, an award given to the top defensive player in college football.

Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson won the 2016 Outland Trophy while his teammate Jonathan Allen took home the Nagurski.

Mata'afa, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound junior from Lahaina, Hawaii, has started two seasons for WSU at defensive end. In 2016 Pro Football Focus ranked him eighth in the Football Bowl Subdivision among offensive guards with a grade of 20.5.

It's a position he'll most likely play at the next level, and it'll be an important part of Auburn's transition to a more balanced offense.

Tennessee football offensive lineman Jashon Robertson is the third Vols player on an official preseason watch list for a postseason award.

Notre Dame senior linebacker and captain Nyles Morgan is expected to have a strong final campaign in South Bend, and he continues to find himself on the preseason watch list for some of the nation's top defensive honors.

Bailey, a senior from Jacksonville, Fla., recorded a career-best 58 tackles a year ago including nine tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

The Outland Trophy victor is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. Five finalists will be announced November 16 and a victor will be named December 4 in Charlotte. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists.

The FWAA All-America Committee will, by individual ballot, select the player they believe is the best defensive player in college football. Committee members then select the victor through individual ballots.

The Outland award was named after John Outland, who was an All-American linemen at Penn.

The list will be trimmed to six or seven semifinalists on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

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