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Kuechly Wins Bronko Nagurski Award As Nation's Top Defender

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BC's Luke Kuechly earned the Bronko Nagurski Award last night, presented to the nation's top college defensive player by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Kuechly was a finalist for the Nagurski last season before being beat out by Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.

The other finalists were LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne, Alabama defensive back Mark Barron, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still.

Kuechly is honored.

"It's an honor. If you look at the past winners and their banners hanging up here - Ndamukong Suh and Charles Woodson, guys like that - just to be put with those names is an honor."

[snip]

"I think I have definitely surprised myself. Coming in I didn't know what to expect in college football. But I've had a lot of help getting there. But it's not something I did alone. We've had a great group of guys on the defense and a coaching staff that allowed me to play and have fun."

Kuechly joins some pretty exclusive company taking home the Nagurski. Past winners include Brian Orakpo, Ndamukong Suh, Derrick Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Roy Williams, Dan Morgan, Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey.

That makes BC's linebacker 4-for-4 for individual awards where he was a finalist, with Kuechly taking home the Butkus Award, Rotary Lombari, Lott IMPACT and Bronko Nagurski Award. Luke was also named an All-American by the Walter Camp Foundation, FWAA and ESPN (and likely with more to come). He was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was the only unanimous selection on the defensive side of the ball.

Of course the most important question on BC fan's minds is whether Kuechly will decide to test the NFL Draft waters or return to the Heights for his senior season.

"I haven't thought too much about it. I haven't thought too much about it because I've been busy with this and I've had exams. So when I get home I'll start to think about it."

And so we wait for Kuechly to make a decision on his future (please come back!).