A pair of IU teammates have recently been named to one of the most prestigious award watch lists in the country, honoring the best defensive player in college football.
IU senior linebacker, Tegray Scales and fifth-year cornerback, Rashard Fant have both been named to the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Charlotte Touchdown Club announced the list on Thursday.
The list boasts more than 100 of the most talented defensive players in the nation, which includes 14 other players from the Big Ten.
Past recipients are some of the most accomplished at the next level in the NFL, Luke Kuechly, Ndamukong Suh, Terrell Suggs, Champ Bailey, Charles Woodson and Warren Sapp, the list goes on and on.
Scales has quickly garnered the most national attention in the offseason, after already being named to the Bednarik award and Lott IMPACT trophy award watch lists.
The All-American led the nation in solo tackles (93) and tackles for loss (23.5) in 2016, while snagging the Foster Farms Bowl Defensive Player of the Game.
The Nagurski finalists will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 16 and the winner will be named at the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet in Charlotte, on Monday Dec. 3.
Rashard Fant is also getting national recognition in his fifth year at IU, as he has been named to the Bronko Nagurski along with the Thorpe Award Watch List.
The Thorpe award is annually given to the best defensive back in country, based on performance, athletic ability and character. It also comprises a more selective watch list, with only 45 players.
The award was established in 1986 and is named after Jim Thorpe.
The culmination of four years at IU has earned Fant the title of the NCAA active leader in passes defended (48) and passes breakups (44).
Last season, Fant matched up against the best receivers in the Big Ten and grabbed three interceptions and 33 tackles.
The Thorpe award is more traditional with three announced finalists.
The winner is declared at The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 7 on ESPN.
Fant has also been honored off the field, as he has been named to the Allstate American Football Coaching Association (AFCA) Good Works Team Watch List.
While players are generally recognized for their on-field achievements, the Good Works Team honors student-athletes that have made contributions to society.
Volunteerism is key for the Good Works team and Fant has no shortage of experience. To name a few, Fant serves as a Hoosier Hero mentor, he has volunteered at Camp Riley for the past two years, which empowers children with physical disabilities, and is a representative for the IU Student-Athlete advisory committee.
AFCA has nominated 143 student-athletes over all three divisions and the recipients will be 22 players, 11 on the offensive team as well as 11 on the defensive side.
The Good Works Team works differently than all the other awards teams, the final team members are announced in September and fans can vote for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain throughout the season.
More award watch lists have yet to be announced and all of the remaining lists will be declared by the end of the week, including the Biletnikoff and Walter Camp awards.
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