Louisiana Tech had a pair of seniors earn preseason watch list nods on Tuesday morning after offensive lineman O’Shea Dugas was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List and defensive end Jaylon Ferguson was selected to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, it was announced by the Football Writers Association of America.
The 2018 Outland Trophy is presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, while the award honors the top interior lineman in college football, selected by the FWAA membership.
In 2017, Dugas started nine games and saw action in 10 games for the Bulldogs on the offensive line despite battling through injuries midway through the season. Dugas helped pave the way for an offensive unit that ranked fourth in Conference USA in scoring offense and total offense. He also helped anchor a group that ranked sixth in the league in rushing offense with an average of 172.5 yards per game on the ground. Additionally, Dugas helped lead the way for LA Tech’s fourth straight 1,000-yard rusher in as many seasons.
The recipient of the 73rd Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Dec. 6, live from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The official presentation to the winner will be made at the Werner Enterprises Outland Trophy Awards Dinner produced by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee on Jan. 9, 2019. Up to seven semifinalists will be named on Nov. 14 in Omaha and three finalists for the award will be announced on Nov. 19.
Ferguson, who has already been named to the Bednarik Award Watch List, will enter his final season ranked fifth in the FBS among active career leaders with 27.5 sacks in his career with the Bulldogs. Ferguson is coming off a junior season that saw him total 39 tackles (25 solo, 14 assisted), a team-best 7.0 sacks for 38 yards and 9.5 tackles for a loss of 45 yards. Ferguson also enters the 2018 season ranked third in the NCAA among active career leaders with an average of 0.69 sacks per game. His 27.5 career sacks currently rank second all-time in Louisiana Tech history behind Walter Johnson (38).
The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Outland Trophy are members of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about the NCFAA.