* University of Wyoming press release

LARAMIE -- The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announced on Tuesday the Preseason Watch List for the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy. A total of 94 of the top defensive players in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) were named to this year’s watch list.

University of Wyoming junior linebacker Easton Gibbs was one of those individuals.

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The Bronko Nagurski Trophy honors the nation’s best defensive player in FBS football each season. This year’s preseason list includes 94 defensive standouts from 69 different FBS football programs. Gibbs is one of 29 linebackers selected to this year’s watch list. There are 19 cornerbacks, 19 safeties, 16 defensive ends and 13 defensive tackles on the ‘23 preseason list.

Gibbs was selected as the 2023 Mountain West Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in voting by MW media at Mountain West Media Days in July. He has also been named a ‘23 Preseason First Team All-Mountain selection by MW media, Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.

"I'd say that really not a whole lot," he said, when asked what these recognitions mean to him. "You know, the preseason stuff, it's very cool to get voted and it's a blessing, but it was like last year, I wasn't on any of that stuff. I told myself the same thing I'm telling myself this year -- there are bigger goals."


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As a sophomore in 2022, Gibbs was named First Team All-Mountain West in voting by Mountain West head coaches and media at the conclusion of the season. A Temecula, Calif. native, Gibbs ranked No. 3 in the conference and 22nd nationally in tackles for the 2022 season, averaging 9.3 tackles per game. He recorded the first 100-tackle season of his career, with 121.

He became only the 61st Cowboy in the 126-year history of Cowboy Football to record 100 tackles in a single season. Gibbs’ 121 tackles tied him with former UW linebackers Bruce Mowry (1983) and Jim Talich (1997) for the 18th best single-season tackle total in school history.

Gibbs, who said this season will likely be his last in Laramie, posted double figures in tackles in six games during the 2022 season. In 2022, he became the third Wyoming linebacker to earn First Team All-Mountain West honors in the last four consecutive seasons, following current Cincinnati Bengal Logan Wilson (2019) and current Jacksonville Jaguar Chad Muma (2020 and ‘21).

The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2023 trophy on Nov. 15 and the winner will be unveiled Dec. 4 at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.

The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s full membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Nagurski Trophy finalists. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from the five finalists named in November. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.

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.

University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

During the summer of 2021, 7220Sports.com counted down the Top 50 football players in University of Wyoming history, presented by Premier Bone & Joint Centers, Worthy of Wyoming.

The rules are simple: What was the player's impact while in Laramie? That means NFL stats, draft status or any other accolade earned outside of UW is irrelevant when it comes to this list.

This isn't a one-man job. This task called for a panel of experts. Joining 7220's Cody Tucker are Robert GagliardiJared NewlandRyan Thorburn, and Kevin McKinney.

We all compiled our own list of 50 and let computer averages do the work. Think BCS -- only we hope this catalog is fairer.

Don't agree with a selection? Feel free to sound off on our Twitter: @7220sports - #Top50UWFB

- University of Wyoming’s Top 50 Football Players

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