NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Michigan vs Florida State
Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; A Michigan Wolverines football helmet sits on the field prior to the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Both sophomore Rashan Gary and Maurice Hurst are expected to be the leaders on defense both on and off the fields for Michigan in 2017. This tandem has already been named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list for the upcoming season, and now they find themselves on a watch list for another trophy.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America to the best overall defensive player in college football. It’s been given out since 1993.

On this year’s list, it’s 103 defensive standouts comprised of the 10 conferences of Division I college football, plus three players from ‘Independent’ programs. Gary and Hurst make up two of 16 players from the Big Ten, and two of 44 players that play up front on the line.

As mentioned before, both were also named to the Bednarik Award watch list, hardware that boasts the same honor of being the best player on defense, but is awarded by the Maxwell Football Club. For Hurst, it’s his third preseason watch list so far. He was also named to the Outland Trophy watch list for top interior lineman nationally.