Throughout the 2019 season Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons has been making his case to be called the nations best defensive player, and a strong case he has made. On Wednesday we learned that the nation was paying attention.
The five finalists for the Bronco Nagurski Award were announced today and Simmons name was on the list. The award is given to the nations top defensive player and is handed out by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The other four players who were named finalists are Auburn DT Derrick Brown, Georgia DB JR Reed, Minnesota DB Antoine Winfield Jr, and Ohio State DE Chase Young.
Simmons has 74 tackles on the season and has been the main cog in Brent Venables retooled defense in 2019. We have seen him line up at safety, linebacker, and as an edge rusher. He leads the team in sacks with 6 and tackles for loss with 12. He has 5 pass beak ups, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. He has had 8 tackles or more in 5 of the teams 11 games, and is just 1 of 5 FBS players with at least 65 tackles, 11.5 TFL, and 6 sacks. No Tiger has played more snaps than his 536.
Simmons is the fourth Clemson player to be named a finalist in the last five seasons. The last Tiger to win the award was Da’Quan Bowers in 2010.