Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Clemson's Bowers Wins Nagurski Award

CHARLOTTE, AP – Amid his year of tragedy, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers slimmed down, got serious about football and had a breakout season.
Bowers was honored for his dominance Monday night with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player, an award he wishes he could share with his father and his mentor.

Playing with a heavy heart following the deaths this year of his father, Dennis, and close friend Gaines Adams of the Chicago Bears, Bowers burst onto the scene after two mediocre years. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound junior leads the nation with 15 1/2 sacks and his 25 tackles for a loss rank second in the country.

Bowers, one of the nation’s top recruits coming out of high school, had managed only four sacks in his first two college seasons.

“He’s excelled in every area,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “He’s had to overcome some personal tragedy and has still been able to stay focused. He’s become the inspirational leader of our team. To see him being honored is really heartwarming for me.”

Swinney was the keynote speaker at Monday’s banquet as Bowers edged out Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, Georgia linebacker Justin Houston and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson for the award presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

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