FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Minnesota's Antoine Winfield Jr. (11) is congratulated by teammates after intercepting a pass in the end zone during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Fresno State in Minneapolis. Winfield Jr. is out for the rest of the 2018 season after injuring his left foot in the Gophers’ Big Ten season opening loss at Maryland. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King, File)

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota defense back Antoine Winfield Jr. was named one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Finalist. The award, which is celebrating its 25th annual banquet this year, is awarded to the best defensive player in college football and is presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America.

The award is named after former Minnesota legend Bronko Nagurski, who was a standout for the Gophers in the 1920s. Nagurski was so dominant in his day that he was named All-American on offense and defense in 1929.

Winfield is joined on the list by fellow finalists Derrick Brown (Auburn defensive tackle), J.R. Reed (Georgia defensive back), Isaiah Simmons (Clemson linebacker) and Chase Young (Ohio State defensive end).

Winfield has been dynamic this year for the Gophers. He has started all 10 games and leads the team with 65 tackles, 47 of which have been solo stops. He has two sacks, one pass breakup and has forced one fumble.

The Woodlands, Texas native leads the Big Ten and is tied for second in the nation with seven interceptions. He has four more interceptions than anyone else in the conference. He has 111 return yards this year from interceptions and returned one for a touchdown at Rutgers earlier this season. His seven interceptions also tie a school record, which was set by Jeff Wright in 1970.


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