ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia graduate safety J.R. Reed has been named one of five finalists for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.


Reed, a native of Frisco, Texas, joins Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, Minnesota defensive back Antoine Winfield Jr. and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young as finalists.


The Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 9 at the Charlotte Convention Center.


Former Bulldog and Pro Football Hall of Famer Champ Bailey has been Georgia’s only winner of the honor in 1998.  Another pair of former Georgia defenders in current Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith (2017) and current Indianapolis Colts linebacker Justin Houston (2010) were also finalists.  In addition, former Bulldog three-time All-American and current ESPN commentator David Pollack was a finalist in 2002 and 2004.


Reed, already semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe and Bednarik awards, is fourth on the team with 43 tackles, including two tackles for loss, and has one of the team’s six interceptions.  Starting a team leading 39th straight games, Reed forced a fumble during the shutout victory over Kentucky and collected a fumble that he returned 14 yards for a touchdown earlier this season against Murray State.


Thanks in part to the contributions listed above, Reed has helped put Georgia at the top of the SEC in Scoring Defense at 10.5 points/game (No. 2 nationally), Rushing Defense at 75.5 yards/game (No. 3 nationally) and in Total Defense at 267.2 yards/game (No. 6 nationally).  UGA has allowed just a single rushing touchdown and leads the nation in Red Zone Defense (62.5 percent).


The No. 4 Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to No. 24 Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2) on Saturday.  CBS will televise the matchup at 3:30 p.m.