Stoops' Pupil Wins Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Dec. 9, 2003

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - One of new Arizona head coach Mike Stoops' latest defensive stars was named winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy yesterday in ceremonies here.

Oklahoma cornerback Derrick Strait was named 11th winner of the award, presented annually by the Football Writers Associastion of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown CLub to tbe best defensive player in college football.

Strait won the award over teammate Tommie Harris, a tackle on Oklahoma's defense, UCLA defensive end Dave Ball, LSU tackle Chad Lavalais and West Virginia linebacker Grant Wiley.

'Coach Mike Stoops made me the player I (am),' Strait said of OU's former co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach who became Arizona's head coach Nov. 29. 'I hadn't played that much cornerback before I got to Oklahoma,' he said in accepting the award.

Stoops also coached the 2001 Nagurski Trophy winner at OU, Roy Williams, now a member of the Dallas Cowboys, giving him two of the past three winners of the distinguished honor.

Strait, a native of Austin, Texas, was a first-team FWAA All-America selection this year. The 5-foot-11 senior was the Sooners third-leading tackler with 69, had seven tackles for loss, intercepted three passes, forced two fumbles and recovered four fumbles. He became the OU career leader in passes broken up, starts and interception return yards, and takes finished

Arizona defensive tackle Rob Waldrop won the inaugural Nagurski Trophy in 1993 when he spearheaded UA's renowned 'Desert Swarm' defense.

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