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Alabama's Landon Collins highlights Nagurski finalists


Two SEC defensive backs are among the five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded annually to the nation's top defensive player.

Alabama strong safety Landon Collins and Mississippi cornerback Senquez Golson are joined as finalists by Texas defensive tackle Malcom Brown, Louisville free safety Gerod Holliman and Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright.

Holliman leads the nation with 13 interceptions, one off the FBS single-season record. Golson leads the SEC and is second nationally with nine picks. Wright has put up big stats: 117 tackles, 21 tackles for 78 yards in losses, 12 sacks for and five forced fumbles; he ranks fourth nationally in tackles, second in tackles for loss, fourth in sacks and tied for first in forced fumbles. Brown has 6.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 66 tackles. Collins has 68 tackles, three interceptions and five pass breakups.

Statistically, it's tough to argue against any of the finalists. But others who could've legitimately been among the five finalists include USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams, Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha, Utah defensive end Nate Orchard and Missouri defensive end Shane Ray.

The winner will be announced Dec. 8.

Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, now a rookie with the St. Louis Rams, was last season's winner. Other past winners include Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly in 2011, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in 2009, Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson in 2004, Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997 and Miami defensive tackle Warren Sapp in 1994.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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