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USC's Tuli Tuipulotu Named Finalist for Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Nov 16, 2022

LOS ANGELES--USC DL Tuli Tuipulotu has been selected as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. This award, presented by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown honors the nation's top defensive player.
 
Tuipulotu is the nation's second-leading sack man with 11.5 on the season (1.15 per game). He is also the Pac-12 leader and is fourth nationally with 1.8 tackles for loss per game (17.5 total). Those combine for 167 yards lost to opposing offenses. 
 
Tuipulotu's 11.5 sacks are the most in a single season at USC since Kenechi Udeze set the Trojans' record with 16.5 in 2003. Tuipulotu is sixth on the team with 32 tackles, 23 of them solo. He has three pass breakups at the line, two quarterback hurries – one of which turned into an intentional grounding penalty for a safety against Colorado – and has forced two fumbles.

Tuipulotu is USC's second Bronko Nagurski finalist and first in 14 seasons. The other finalist was linebacker Rey Maualga in 2008. As of today's announcement, Tuipulotu is USC's first FWAA All-American on defense since 2014 when defensive lineman Leonard Williams made the second team.
 
The other three finalists for the award are Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr., Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey and Georgia safety Chris Smith. 
 
The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association's entire membership, selects the defensive player of the year present the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 5 at the Charlotte Convention Center. N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren will be the keynote speaker.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw "Bronko" Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
 
In addition to being named a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Tuipulotu is a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Rotary Lombardi Award. Initially named a preseason All-American, he has now earned placement on six Midseason All-American First Teams (AP, ESPN, Athlon, CBS Sports, The Athletic and FOX Sports). He is also on the watch lists for the Outland Trophy and Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.