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Chidobe Awuzie named to Nagurski & Thorpe Trophy watch lists

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Senior defensive back recognized as one of college football's best defensive players.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Football Writers Association of America has released the 2016 preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the best defensive player in college football and with no surprise, Colorado Buffaloes defensive back Chidobe Awuzie was named as one the 88 players on the list. The returning senior has been on every scouts radar after his outstanding play last season and was a major contributing factor for defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt's turnaround.

Defensive back Weston Steelhammer from Air Force was only other player named to the list from the state of Colorado. Overall, the Pac-12 conference tied with the Big Ten for second with 13 players on the list and the SEC more than doubled that amount with 27 total. Alabama and LSU tied for having the most players from an individual school with five each.

The list includes a total of 31 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, and 7 defensive tackles. Click here to see the entire list of candidates. Five finalist will be selected on Nov. 17 and a winner with be announced on Dec. 5 in Charlotte, NC.

Additionally, Chidobe Awuzie was named today to the national watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation's top defensive back and the Bednarik Award for the nation's best defensive player.

Awuzie finished second on the team in tackles last season (90) along with two interceptions. He was one of two Buffs named to the All Pac-12 team and is the only returning member (Nelson Spruce). Awuzie is expected to have a veteran presence for CU this season, even though he wasn't named as one of five team captains for the upcoming season.