Atkins, Curran & Owens on Nagurski Watch List

ATHENS - Georgia's Geno Atkins, Rennie Curran and Jeff Owens were among 62 candidates included on the Watch List for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy released on Tuesday. The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, administers of the national defensive player of the year honor, announced the list.

Georgia is one of only four schools – along with Alabama, Florida and Penn State – to have three players included on the Watch List.

Atkins, a 6-1, 290-pound senior defensive tackle from Pembroke Pines, Fla., is a candidate for the Outland Trophy and the Bednarik Award as well. Atkins started all 13 games last year when he recorded 34 tackles, including 7.5 for 17 yards lost, and led the Bulldogs with 32 quarterback pressures.

Curran, a 5-11, 222-pound linebacker from Snellville, Ga., is also up for for the Lombardi and Bednarik Awards and was a Butkus Award finalist last season. He led Georgia in tackles (115), tackles for a loss (10.0), sacks (3.0) and forced fumbles (2) and earned the team's Most Valuable Defensive Player Award in 2008.

Owens, a 6-3, 300-pound senior defensive tackle from Sunrise, Fla., already has been named to the watch lists for the Outland Trophy and the Lott Trophy. Owens suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the Bulldogs opener against Georgia Southern a year ago. In 2007, he started all 13 games for Georgia and registered 27 tackles, with 4.0 for eight yards loss, and 22 QB pressures.

The Nagurski Trophy has been presented since 1993 and is awarded in memory of the legendary Nagurski, an All-America lineman at Minnesota in 1927-29 and a star for the Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Georgia's Champ Bailey won the Nagurski Trophy in 1998. In addition, David Pollack was a finalist for the honor in both 2002 and 2004.

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