|(T. Ortega Gaines/AP Photo)|
The other finalists were LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne, Alabama defensive back Mark Barron, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still.
The 6-foot-3, 237-pound Kuechly led the nation in total tackles with 191 and solo tackles with 102 and was the only unanimous selection to the all-ACC first-team defense this season.
He was All-American last year as a sophomore and was a finalist for the Nagurski Award but was beat out by Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.
In just three seasons, Kuechly became Boston College's all-time leading tackler.
Among the other former Nagurski award winners are Brian Orakpo, Ndamukong Suh, Derrick Johnson, Terrell Suggs, Roy Williams, Dan Morgan, Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey.
"It's an honor," Kuechly said. "If you look at the past winners and their banners hanging up here - Ndamukong Suh and Charles Woodson, guys like that - just to be put with those names is an honor."
"I try not to think too much and just go out there and have fun," he said. "You go out there and watch tape and you get prepared for the game real well, but once you get out there you have to have fun."