Dave Ball Named Finalist For Bronko Nagurski Defensive Player of the Year Award

Nov. 18, 2003

UCLA defensive end Dave Ball, two Oklahoma Sooners and defensive standouts from West Virginia and LSU were among the finalists for the 2003 Bronko NagurskiTrophy announced on Tuesday.

Ball, Oklahoma tackle Tommie Harris and cornerback Derrick Strait were namedfinalists for the annual award given to the best defensive player in collegefootball by the Football Writers Association of America and the CharlotteTouchdown Club.

The other finalists also include West Virginia linebackerGrant Wiley and LSU tackle Chad Lavalais.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be presented to the winner on Dec. 8 inCharlotte, N.C.

Ball, a 6-6, 275-pound senior from Dixon, Calif., leads the nation in sackswith 15.5 and is tops in the Pacific-10 Conference in tackles for loss(19.5). He was a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week forhis performance against Washington when he recorded 3.5 sacks, added anothertackle for loss and caused two fumbles. Ball is also a finalist for theLombardi and Ted Hendricks awards.

Harris, a Lombardi Trophy finalist, and Strait, considered one of the topdefensive backs in the country, will both try to become the second Oklahomaplayer to win the 10-year-old award in three seasons. Current Dallas Cowboysdefensive back Roy Williams won the award in 2001 while playing for OU.

Harris, a 6-3, 289-pound junior from Killeen, Texas, helps anchor OU's No.3-ranked scoring defense in the country. He has nine tackles for 36 yards inlosses this season. Four of those are sacks for 21 yards in losses. He hasrecovered a fumble and caused a fumble.

Strait, a 5-11, 195 senior from Austin, Texas, has had an outstanding seasonfor a secondary which ranks tops in the country in yards allowed a game. Hehas set an Oklahoma career record for passes broken up, surpassing Williams'record.

Strait's interceptions against Texas early in the game keyed a 65-13 OUvictory in which he also had 11 tackles (one for loss), two fumblerecoveries and three passes broken up.

Lavalais, a 6-3, 292-pound senior from Marksville, La., is the anchor for anLSU defense which ranks tops in the country in fewest points allowed pergame. He has six sacks, 18 quarterback hurries and four passes batted downthis season. He has six other tackles for losses and also intercepted a passagainst Alabama.

Wiley, a 6-1, 235-pound senior from Trappe, Pa., leads the country in forcedfumbles (seven) and is second in the country in tackles per game (13.1) thisseason. Wiley had 11 tackles in West Virginia's upset of Virginia Tech andthis past weekend chipped in with 15 tackles (two for losses) a sack andpass broken up in a victory over Pittsburgh.

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