NASHVILLE -- Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore has been named to the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The preseason poll was announced by the Football Writers Association of America on Monday.
Moore, a junior all-conference performer from Spartanburg, S.C., becomes the second Commodore defensive standout in as many years named as a preseason candidate for the prestigious Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to college football's best defensive player. Linebacker Jonathan Goff was recognized before the 2007 campaign, then enjoyed an all-conference season before recently getting drafted by the New York Giants.
Moore, named to virtually every All-Southeastern Conference squad following a tremendous sophomore season in 2007, is one of 20 SEC players among 88 collegiate standouts named to the watchlist. The Nagurski Trophy recipient will be honored on Dec. 7 in Charlotte, N.C. LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey won the Nagurski Trophy last year.
Head Coach Bobby Johnson was pleased that Moore received early consideration for the Nagurski Trophy.
"D.J. is a very deserving candidate for this award," Johnson said. "He came into his own last year, really putting together a fine season for us. He's explosive around the football, plays with great instincts, and is truly a multiple threat on the field. On defense, D.J. is one of those guys that always seems to be around the ball.
"While I'm extremely pleased for D.J., I also hope senior safety Reshard Langford, one of team captains, gets some consideration as we get closer to the season," Johnson added.
Moore led the Commodores - and shared the SEC lead with six interceptions in 2007, including one returned 24 yards for a touchdown. He also topped the Vanderbilt secondary with 83 total tackles, including 63 solo stops. Recipient of the team's postseason Defensive Secondary MVP, Moore also contributed 10 defensed passes, two tackles for loss, and a quarterback sack.
Moore earned first team All-SEC honors from sportswriters, and second team honors from the league head coaches. Moore also garnered National Defensive Player of the Week recognition following a sensational two-interception performance that sparked Vanderbilt to a 17-6 upset at No. 6 South Carolina.
Moore also broke team kickoff marks last year. He amassed a team-record 823 yards in kickoff returns, averaging 25.7 yards per return. Moore had seven returns of 40 yards or more.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been presented since 1993 and is awarded in memory of the legendary Nagurski, a former All-America lineman at Minnesota in 1927-29 and a star for professional football's Chicago Bears in the 1930s.