Johnson forced eight fumbles this season

Updated: December 7, 2004, 1:43 AM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Monday night as the best defensive player in college football.

Johnson tied an NCAA record by forcing eight fumbles this season, leading the Longhorns (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) to a 10-1 record and their first trip to the Rose Bowl. The Big 12 defensive player of the year had 128 tackles, 19 for loss, and an interception.

"He's a special guy, real special," Texas defensive coordinator Greg Robinson said. "We will miss him."'

The senior became the first Texas player to win the 12-year-old award, presented by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

The other finalists were Auburn defensive back Carlos Rogers and defensive ends Jonathan Goddard of Marshall, Erasmus James of Wisconsin and David Pollack of Georgia.

Johnson also is a finalist for the Bednarik, Lombardi and Butkus awards.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is named for the former Minnesota All-American, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press