Louisville senior safety Hakeem Smith has been placed on the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Award, announced today by the Football Writers Association of America.
Smith is one of 81 players vying to become the national defensive player of year in a vote by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. Former Louisville defensive end, Elvis Dumervil won the award in 2005 when he led the nation in sacks.
One of the more decorated players on the team, Smith is vying to become just the second Louisville football player to garner all-conference honors for four-straight seasons.
A second-team honoree last season, Smith finished third on the squad with 73 tackles, but has been a mainstay in the secondary with 38 career starts and owns a string of 37 straight.
Smith’s posted a career-best 88 tackles in 2010 when he was tabbed the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and was a first team all-league performer in 2011 when he was credited with 84 tackles and three forced fumbles.
Earlier this week, Smith was also tabbed to the Bednarik Watch List, which honors the top defensive player in the nation.