Tulsa’s Zaven Collins Presented with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy

Courtesy photo
BEST IN DEFENSE: Tulsa’s Zaven Collins holding his trophy with his head coach, Philip Montgomery.

 The University of Tulsa’s Zaven Collins was presented with the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which honors college football’s national defensive player of the year.
The award winner is chosen by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and awarded by the Charlotte Touchdown Club presented by Lending Tree. Longtime Tulsa sportswriter John Hoover, a member of the FWAA, presented the award to Collins today at The University of Tulsa.
At 6’4″, 260 pounds, Collins was one of the most dynamic defenders in college football. He has totaled 54 tackles, 11.5 TFLs for minus 49 yards, four sacks for minus 25 yards, four interceptions for 152 return yards, two TDs off INTs, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, as well as one safety, in eight games. Two of Collins’ interceptions were game-clinchers, including a pickoff against No. 19 SMU that ended any possible final scoring drive for the Mustangs and his pick-6 in overtime against Tulane that he took 96 yards for the game-winning score.
A consensus All-America selection, Collins was also honored with the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lombardi Award. He was also unanimously chosen as the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first player in league history to earn unanimous player-of-the-year honors, and also receiving unanimous first-team all-AAC accolades.
Collins was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after his performance in Tulsa’s 28-24 comeback win over SMU. He totaled six tackles, two TFLs for -10 yards, one sack for -9 yards and one QB hurry to go along with his game-sealing interception.
 In four games against top-25 opponents this season, Collins had 25 solo tackles among his 35 total stops and 10 TFL’s for minus 45 yards, four sacks and two interceptions. Collins opened the season with six tackles, all solos, four stops for -24 yards and three sacks for -16 yards against the No. 11-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. 
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.