HATTIESBURG, Miss. – For the second-straight day, Southern Miss junior defensive back Ky’el Hemby has earned selection to a preseason watch list as the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) released its picks for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy today, choosing 92 defensive standouts from 65 schools in all 10 Division I FBS conferences plus independents.
Hemby, who was picked to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list yesterday and has also been chosen preseason All-Conference USA, paces a Golden Eagle defense as its top returning tackler from last season. Hemby ranked second in 2018 in total tackles with 51 stops as the Golden Eagles’ defense ended the year No. 3 nationally in total defense (278.4). He also put together a team-best six interceptions, which tied for the league lead.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday this season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 20.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.