Marshall Duo Named to Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall senior defensive end Owen Porter and senior cornerback Micah Abraham have been named to the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, as released by the Football Writers Association of America on Tuesday.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded to the best defensive football player in the country, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America All-America Committee.

Porter and Abraham each return for the 2023 season after being vital members of a defense that finished in the top-20 in FBS last year. Their contributions played a significant role in Marshall’s five straight wins to close out the season.

“The recognition for their efforts – consistency, diligence, and approach – is always good, and those recognitions are great, but again, they are just lists,” said Marshall football coach Charles Huff. “What this should do is motivate them in the fact that what they are doing and what they continue to do is being recognized. From a program standpoint, it shows that what we are doing in development and what we’re doing in progressing these guys is being recognized nationally.”

Porter, who represented Marshall at Sun Belt Media Days in New Orleans last week, was a key leader and consistent force on the defensive line in 2022. The Huntington, W.Va., native recorded 60 tackles and led the team in tackles for loss (15), sacks (9.5), quarterback hurries (9), and forced fumbles (2).

Abraham earned All-Sun Belt First Team honors in 2022 after an impressive season. He tied for 3rd in FBS with six interceptions and contributed 36 tackles and 10 pass breakups.

“Whenever you are able to play consistently at a high level, it gives everyone the confidence to go out and do it again,” Huff said. “They elevate the level of consistency and execution around them because people don’t want to be the one who let Owen or Micah down. The level of commitment and preparation that those guys have permeates the team, so now that becomes the standard everyone is trying to live up to.”

Porter and Abraham are among the 96 defensive standouts on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, with only seven players selected from the Sun Belt Conference. Marshall is one of 14 FBS teams with multiple selections on the list.

The FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. Players may be added or removed from the watch list as the season progresses. The association’s full membership, along with the FWAA All-America Committee, will select a 26-man All-America Team and the Nagurski Trophy finalists. The winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be chosen from the five finalists named in November.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy was named in honor of Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski, a legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota, and is a member of the National College Football Awards Association.

Image Credit: Marshall Athletics