Tennessee sophomore linebacker Henry To’o To’o has already been named to several preseason award watch lists this month. On Tuesday, the former four-star prospect was named to another one, finding his name on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list. The award recognizes the Defensive Player of the Year in college football.
The winner of the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be chosen from five finalists. The Football Writers Association of America will select a 26-man All-American Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous years, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday this season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy.
To’o To’o is one of 15 SEC players named to the Nagurski Trophy watch list and one of 30 linebackers. The Nagurski Trophy is the third preseason watch list To’o To’o has been named to. He was also named to the Butkus Award Watch List and the Bednarik Award Watch List.
To’o To’o earned freshman All-America honors from several organizations and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after a tremendous rookie campaign in 2019. The Sacramento, California native finished second on the team with 72 tackles while starting 12 games at linebacker and playing in all 13 games. He added five tackles for loss, a half-sack, two pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, and a fumble recovery on the season. His 72 total tackles ranked second among SEC freshmen and fourth among FBS freshmen.
To’o To’o signed with Tennessee as a top-50 recruit and one of the top five linebacker prospects in the country out of national powerhouse De La Salle High School in Concord, California. He earned 2018 First-Team MaxPreps All-America and USA Today All-USA California Team honors as he helped lead De La Salle to a 12-1 record and a state championship appearance as a senior.
No Vol has ever won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, but three different Vols have been named finalists for the award. Al Wilson (1998), John Henderson (2000), and Eric Berry (2009) were all selected as finalists for the award.
Tennessee is scheduled to kickoff its 2020 season on Sept. 5 against Charlotte in Neyland Stadium.