ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith has been named one of five finalists for the 2017 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.
Smith, a native of Montezuma, Ga., joins North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb, Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Iowa middle linebacker Josey Jewell and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver as finalists.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Monday, December 4, at the Charlotte Convention Center. Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart will be the keynote speaker at the banquet.
Former Bulldog and NFL veteran Champ Bailey has been Georgia’s only winner of the honor in 1998. Another former Bulldog and current Kansas City Chief linebacker, Justin Houston, was a finalist for the honor in 2010. Also, former Georgia All-American and current ESPN announcer David Pollack was a finalist in 2002 and 2004.
Smith, already a midseason All-American and Bednarik Award semifinalist, is on pace to lead the Bulldogs in tackles for the second consecutive season with 82 stops through 10 games (8.2 tackles/game) and has one of the team¹s seven forced fumbles. He has directed a defense that is ranked as one of the country¹s best in Scoring Defense (14.5 pts./game, fifth nationally), Rushing Defense (103.8 yds./game, fifth nationally), Total Defense (277.5 yds./game, fifth nationally) and Pass Defense (173.7 yds./game, 11th nationally).
The seventh-ranked Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to Kentucky (7-3, 4-3) on Saturday in Sanford Stadium. CBS will televise the matchup at 3:30 p.m.