June 12, 2007
University of Notre Dame linebacker Maurice Crum and safety Tom Zbikowski have both been named to the watch list for the 2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Football Writers Association of America announced Tuesday. The Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually to the best defensive player in college football.
Crum is coming off a breakthrough 2006 campaign in which he paced the Notre Dame defense with 100 tackles, becoming the first Irish defender since Courtney Watson in 2003 to hit the century mark in tackles. Crum's 100 tackles were the most by a player with eligibility remaining since Jimmy Friday tallied 109 tackles in 1997.
Elected a captain for the 2007 season by his teammates, Crum has also been named to the preseason watch list for the Lott Award.
Zbikowski was named to the watch list for the second-straight year. An All-American candidate who returned for his fifth season at Notre Dame, Zbikowski earned second-team All-America accolades from the Walter Camp Football Foundation last year and was named a third-team All-American by the Associated Press for the second straight season. He recorded 79 tackles with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on defense and averaged 9.0 yards on 16 punt returns with one touchdown return in 2006.
Zbikowski was chosen as a 2007 Notre Dame captain for the second-consecutive season and has received numerous preseason accolades including being named first-team preseason All-America by The Sporting News, Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. The Arlington Heights, Ill. product is also considered the top strong safety in the nation by Sporting News and Phil Steele while ESPN NFL Draft Analyst Mel Kiper tabbed him the top senior safety in 2007.
The Charlotte Touchdown Club sponsors the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and will hold the 2007 banquet on Monday, Dec. 3 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte.