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Local players headline Nagurski watch list

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Pitt's Brandon Lindsey joins Penn State's Michael Mauti and Bruce Irvin and Keith Tandy of West Virginia among the candidates for college football's best defensive player

Several local players, including two from West Virginia, have been named to the 87-member watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy that is awarded annually to the nation’s best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Defensive ends Brandon Lindsey of Pitt and Aliquippa High School, and Bruce Irvin of West Virginia, were named to the list, as were Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti and WVU defensive back Keith Tandy,

Lindsey had a stellar 2010 season, earning All-Big East Second Team honors while leading the conference in tackles for loss with 1.38 per game. Lindsey ranked 16th nationally in both sacks (0.77 sacks/game) and tackles for loss.

Irvin, who joined West Virginia last season from Mt. San Antonio junior college, made an immediate impact as a defensive playmaker mostly used as a passing down rush specialist. He was selected honorable mention All-American by SI.com after finishing second in the nation in sacks.

Tandy, from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, returns to WVU as a two-year starter at cornerback. He earned third-team All-America honors from rivals.com and SI.com last season.

Penn State's Mauti, from Mandeville, La., made a triumphant return to the field in 2010 after missing the '09 season due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee. Mauti was one of three true freshmen to play in every game in 2008 and should be one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten this fall.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be announced from five finalists at a banquet on Dec. 12 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C.

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