Beckwith and Mills named to Nagurski watch list

LSU safety Jalen Mills. Photo by

Three days after the LSU football duo was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list, both linebacker Kendell Beckwith and safety Jalen Mills were among preseason candidates for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.  

The Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the best defensive player in college football each season. A total of 88 players make up the Nagurski watch list--including Beckwith and Mills--and more players are available to be added each week once the season starts.

Mills enters his senior season having started all 39 games in his career, racking up 186 tackles and six interceptions.

The Desoto, Texas, native will begin his second season as a starter at safety after spending his first two seasons as a starting cornerback.

Last season, Mills finished with 62 tackles, five pass breakups, three tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries, one interception and one fumble recovery.

Beckwith, who started the final seven games of the 2014 season, enters his first full season as the starting middle linebacker after he accumulated 77 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups, two quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one interception that he returned 29 yards for a touchdown.

 A gifted athlete, Beckwith will serve as a leader for the Tigers’ stout defense that ended 2014 ranked No. 1 in the SEC in total defense and No. 2 in scoring defense.

The FWAA and the Charlotte (N.C.) Touchdown Club will announce the five finalists on Nov. 19, and the winner will be selected on Dec. 7, at the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet in Charlotte.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from five finalists who are part of the 2014 FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects the 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski finalists.

Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner, the best defensive player in college football during the FWAA’s 75th anniversary year.