DALLAS (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Mississippi State’s defensive tandem of junior linebacker Erroll Thompson and junior cornerback Cameron Dantzler made the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List on Tuesday.
The Football Writers Association of America released the list of 92 defensive standouts. The award goes to the best defensive player in college football.
A smart, instinctive, hard-hitting playmaker, Thompson enters 2019 with 133 total tackles, including 14.5 for loss and six sacks, in 26 games played. He has started 16 straight games, including all 13 last season for the nation's top-ranked defense. The Florence, Alabama, product was voted the defensive team captain for the 2019 season by his teammates. Last season, Thompson ranked second on the team in total tackles (87), tied for third in tackles for loss (9.0), added 3.5 sacks and collected a pair of interceptions. He earned second-team All-SEC honors from The Associated Press for his efforts.
Thompson is also a candidate for the Bednarik and Butkus awards.
A preseason All-American, Dantzler is arguably the top returning SEC cornerback this year. He ranked second in the conference last season among corners with a 41.1 passer rating allowed, according to Pro Football Focus, and was one of only four SEC cornerbacks that did not allow a touchdown (min. 345 coverage snaps played). The Louisiana product also had a pair of interceptions and led the Bulldogs in passes defended (11).
Dantzler, who also is a candidate for the Bednarik and Jim Thorpe awards enters his junior season with 68 career tackles, including four for loss and a sack. He has added three interceptions and 15 passes defended.
The Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists. 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.