Nov 14, 2020; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA;  Tulsa Golden Hurricane linebacker Zaven Collins (23) gets ready for a play during the game against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium. Tulsa won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

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Tulsa LB Collins wins Nagurski Trophy

Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins won the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Wednesday as the best defensive player in college football.

The 6-foot-4, 260-pound junior registered 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in eight games for the Golden Hurricane. He returned two picks for touchdowns: 38 yards at South Florida (Oct. 23) and 96 yards vs. Tulane (Nov. 19).

Collins, 21, is the second player from the American Athletic Conference to win the honor, joining Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich (2015).

He was selected by the Football Writers Association of America over four other finalists: Coastal Carolina defensive end Tarron Jackson, Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon, Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

“I’m honored and blessed to receive the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. It’s awe-inspiring to be mentioned in the same breath as Bronko Nagurski and the many great players who won this award before me,” Collins said in a news release. “I’m so thankful for this honor and for all the people who have put me in this position — my family, coaches, teammates and fan base.”

Tulsa (6-2) is scheduled to face Mississippi State (3-7) in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 31 in Fort Worth, Texas.

–Field Level Media

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