Liberty defensive end Durrell Johnson has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually to the national defensive player of the year as selected by the Football Writers Association of America.

This is the second national award watch list Johnson has been named to so far during the preseason, as he was previously named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list.

Johnson is one of 90 FBS players named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list. This year’s watch list includes 90 defensive standouts from 61 schools and 10 FBS conferences plus independents. The winner will be chosen from five finalists and honored at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet presented by Lending Tree on Dec. 6 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

During his first season with the Flames, Johnson posted a team-leading 11.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks while ranking No. 28 in the country in sacks per game. He also finished with 38 tackles, fourth most on the team, and added six quarterback hurries, a forced fumble, and an interception.

Johnson led Liberty to a 10-1 record in the shortened 2020 season, ending the year with a dramatic bowl victory over Coastal Carolina. He also helped lead Liberty to a pair of wins over ACC foes in Syracuse and in-state opponent Virginia Tech. The two wins made Liberty the first non-Power 5 team to post a pair of wins over ACC schools in the same season since Houston in 2015. Liberty finished the 2020 campaign ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the Amway Coaches Poll, the highest ever ranking for the Flames as an FBS program.

Liberty is scheduled to begin the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Flames have won 11 straight games inside the friendly confines of Williams Stadium on the Mountain.