For the second straight year, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly has stood out as one of the best defensive players in the nation. That's why he's one of five finalists for the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to college football's defensive player of the year.
With 168 tackles this season — 30 more than anyone in the nation — Kuechly has been a defensive force, also recording double-digit tackles in 32 straight games. His 89 unassisted tackles this season also lead the nation. Two interceptions and 10 tackles for a loss round out his impressive statistics. The only blemish on his resume is the 3-7 record his Eagles have this season, but numbers as impressive as his speak for themselves.
Kuechly is up against some stiff competition from some of the top teams in the nation. Alabama free safety Mark Barron, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still complete the list of 2011 finalists. The winner will be chosen on Dec. 12 at a gala banquet in Charlotte, N.C.
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