Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins won the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the best defensive player in college football on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound junior registered 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions, and two forced fiddling in eight games for the Golden Hurricane. He returned two picks for touchdowns: 38 yards in South Florida (October 23) and 96 yards against Tulane (November 19).
Collins, 21, is the second American Athletic Conference player to win the honor, joining Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich (2015).
He was selected by the Football Writers Association of America ahead of four other finalists: the defensive end of Coastal Carolina, Tarron Jackson, the defensive tackle against Daviyon Nixon in Iowa, the linebacker from Notre Dame, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and the cornerback from Alabama , Patrick Surtain II.
“I am honored and blessed to have received the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. It is impressive to be mentioned in the same breath as Bronko Nagurski and the many great players who have won this award before me,” said Collins in a press release. “I’m so grateful for this honor and for all the people who put me in this position – my family, coaches, teammates and the fan base.”
Tulsa (6-2) will face Mississippi State (3-7) in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on December 31st in Fort Worth, Texas.
– Field level media