Stephen Paea on Nagurski Watch List
Aug. 18, 2009
Corvallis, Ore. -
Oregon State University junior defensive tackle Stephen Paea (pie-uh) has been selected a candidate for the 2009 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s premier defensive player by the Football Writers Association (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club (CTC). The native Tongan is a co-team captain this year.
Paea is one of the premier tackles in the Pac-10 Conference and earned honorable mention all-league last season. He made 41 tackles for the year, including 11 for loss and five quarterback sacks. Paea started 12 of the 13 games in his first season with the Beavers after transferring from Utah’s Snow Junior College.
The 6-1 co-team captain from Vav’u in the Tongan Island chain was tabbed with the eighth best performance in a bowl game by ESPN’s Bruce Feldman after making four tackles in the Sun Bowl win over Pittsburgh last season. Paea did not play football until moving to the United States prior to his senior year in high school at Timpview in Utah, but was a standout rugby player in Tonga.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the nation's best defensive player by the FWAA and the CTC. The trophy has been presented since 1993 and is awarded in memory of the legendary Nagurski, an All-America lineman at Minnesota in 1927-29 and a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s. The Trophy banquet will be on Dec. 7 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.
Paea and the rest of his teammates open the season Sept. 5 at home against the Portland State Vikings. The game can be seen live on FSN Northwest beginning at 11:30 a.m. PDT.
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