Colorado’s Hunter is Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of The Week

DALLAS (FWAA) – Harking back to a bygone era of two-way players, Travis Hunter put on one of the most dynamic performances seen in years as the Colorado cornerback doubling as a wide receiver came up with two touchdown-saving plays on defense while also catching 11 passes as one of four 100-yard receivers in the Buffaloes’ stunning 45-42 win at No. 17 TCU. For his specific defensive play that included a pass breakup and three tackles, Hunter earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games during the extended weekend of Sept. 2, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

Each week during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 15. The national defensive player of the year will be chosen from those finalists who are part of the 2023 FWAA All-America Team and presented with the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player, including Hunter this week, will be added at that time.

One defensive sequence will surely be kept as part of Hunter’s personal highlight reel. Hunter ran down a TCU ball carrier at the Colorado five-yard line in the second half to prevent a touchdown. On the next play, Hunter leapt in front of a quick out pattern and pulled down a red-zone interception to thwart the TCU drive yet again and keep Colorado within a touchdown.

The 6-1, 185-pound sophomore cornerback/wide receiver from Suwanee, Ga., transferred to Colorado once Deion Sanders was hired. From the Colorado staff’s research, Hunter is the first FBS player in at least the last 20 years to have 100 yards receiving and an interception in the same game. It was an amazing, and lengthy, effort. Hunter was on the field for 144 snaps – 80 on defense, 64 on offense – shattering the previous CU record of 114 for most snaps in a game.

Hunter is the first Colorado player to earn the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honor since 2020 and the first Buffaloes defensive back to earn it since 2016.

Colorado has little history with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, never having had a finalist or a winner for the award. The last Colorado defensive player to earn FWAA All-America honors was linebacker Nate Landman in 2020, and the last Buffaloes defensive back to earn FWAA All-America honors was Chris Hudson in 1994.

Colorado (1-0) stays in the limelight this weekend hosting long-time former conference rival Nebraska (0-1) at noon ET Saturday on FOX.

The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from the five finalists named in November. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football, then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA includes college football’s most prestigious awards and its 24 awards have honored more than 900 recipients dating back to 1935. This season, 12 NCFAA awards will honor national players of the week each Tuesday. For more information about the NCFAA and its award programs, visit the redesigned NCFAA.org or follow on Twitter at @NCFAA.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region. Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a sponsor team of more than 60 companies. The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches. Through individual and corporate support, nearly $3,000,000 has been raised and donated to benefit the Touchdown Club’s scholarship efforts.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.