Georgia Tech linebacker Philip Wheeler has been tabbed to the preseason watch list for the 2007 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) to the best defensive player in college football.
Wheeler, a senior from Columbus, was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference second team after leading the Yellow Jackets in sacks (9.0) and tackles for loss (14.5), ranking fourth in the ACC in both categories. He was named second team All-America by Rivals and finished second on the Tech squad with 89 tackles.
The FWAA All-America committee selects the Bronko Nagurski winner from the association’s 11-man All-America defensive team in November. The watch list was developed by the FWAA All-America committee with help of the schools and conferences.
The Charlotte Touchdown Club, which sponsors this award, will hold the 2007 banquet on Dec. 3, at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis won the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
For the seventh straight season, the FWAA will also select a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, beginning with games on Sept. 1 through mid-November.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded in memory of the legendary Nagurski, a former All-America lineman at Minnesota (1927-29) and a star for the Chicago Bears in the 1930’s.