June 11, 2006
Clemson, SC – Gaines Adams and Anthony Waters, the senior leaders of Clemson’s 2006 defense, are both among the 56 preseason candidates for the 2006 Bronko Nagurski Award. The award is presented each year by the Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Charlotte Touchdown Club, to the nation’s top defensive player.
The year’s award will be presented on Monday, December 4, 2006 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. Five finalists will be named prior to the announcement of the award. Last year’s winner was Elvin Dumervil of Louisville.
Clemson is one of eight schools with two players on the preseason Watch List. The others are California, Miami (FL), Michigan, TCU, Pittsburgh, Utah and West Virginia.
Adams and Waters both considered turning professional last January, but decided to return to Clemson for their senior seasons. Adams is the top returnee in the ACC in terms of quarterback sacks, while Waters is the top returnee in the ACC in terms of tackles.
A native of Greenwood, SC who played eight-man football in high school, Adams started all 12 games last year when he had a career high 56 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He had a Clemson record 29 quarterback pressures and nine passes broken up, also a record for a Clemson defensive lineman. He was the first defensive lineman in 28 years to lead Clemson in passes broken up, and he also led the team in caused fumbles with three.
Adams was a big reason Clemson won its last four games of the season, including wins over top 20 teams Florida State and South Carolina, and the Champs Sports Bowl win over Colorado. He had 4.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss during that stretch. He is ranked second among 2007 NFL Prospects on Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” behind Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.
Waters has been a starter at linebacker for Clemson each of the last two years. He had 109 tackles in 2005, helping Clemson to a top 25 final ranking in the AP and USA Today Coaches polls. He had 13.5 tackles for loss to rank second on the Clemson team.
The native of Lake View, SC led the ACC in individual first hits with 74 and he ranked 22nd in the nation in that category on a per game basis. He played his top game of the year at Maryland where he had 13 tackles, including 4.5 for loss in Clemson’s 28-24 victory.
Adams and Waters are the only natives of the State of South Carolina among the 56 players named to the list.
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