|Travis Johnson On Nagurski Trophy Watch List|
Dallas, Texas-----San Jose State University football defensive end Travis Johnson is one of 84 Football Bowl Subdivision players named to the 2012 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.
The Nagurski Trophy honors the best defensive player in the country. For the 12th consecutive year, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club team up to convey the annual award. Each week during the regular season, a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive of the Week is selected until five finalists are named on November 16. The 2012 award winner will be announced on December 3 in Charlotte, N.C.
Johnson, a senior from Sunnyvale, Calif., is the only Western Athletic Conference player on the Watch List. He enters his senior season as a returning first-team All-WAC defensive lineman. His 19.0 quarterback sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss in his first three seasons ranks him second and third, respectively, among active college football players. In 2011, he ranked 10th in quarterback sacks and 29th nationally in tackles for loss.
"Travis is a team leader who has played excellent football for us the last three years. He definitely earned the right to be on this list. He plays in a way that he is capable of winning this trophy," says San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre.
"He is the heart and soul of our defense and makes big plays on defense and on special teams."
In 2011, Johnson had single-season career bests of 73 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 quarterback sacks. One of his plays defensively resulted in San Jose State's first safety in several years. He also blocked two kick scoring tries in the Hawaii win - one of which resulted in the Spartans' first defensive extra points.
Besides receiving first-team All-WAC recognition, Johnson was a two-time WAC Player of the Week. He was the special teams Player of the Week in the Hawaii victory and the Defensive Player of the Week for his play against Idaho. The 6-foot-3, 244-pound co-captain in 2012 was added to the Hendricks Award Watch List late in the season and earned Academic All-WAC status for the third year in a row.
Johnson is the third San Jose State football player named to a preseason Watch List in a 12-day span of major college football awards announcements. Recently, tight end Ryan Otten was named to the John Mackey and punter Harrison Waid was placed on the Ray Guy Award watch lists.