JONESBORO, Ark. (7/13/17) – Arkansas State's Ja'Von Rolland-Jones, the reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, has been named to the Bronko Nagurski Preseason Award Watch List, presented annually to the nation's top defensive player.
The Mesquite, Texas native is the first student-athlete in school history to be named to the watch list twice in a career, after also being named to the preseason award watch list in 2016. He also joins Tyrell Johnson as the only two players in school history to have been added to the list as one of the nation's top defensive athletes.
Rolland-Jones enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career as a junior in 2016 after compiling 13.5 sacks to break the Sun Belt record for most sacks in a single season. He also fell just a half sack short of tying the A-State record for sacks in a single, but did set the school record for career sacks with 30.5 entering his senior year. Rolland-Jones ended the 2016 season ranked third in career sacks among active players and fourth in the same group in tackles for loss per game with 1.26.
He was one of the leaders on a defense that led the nation in team tackles for loss with 9.6 per game, while also ranking sixth in the nation in sacks (3.3 per game) and 19th in scoring defense (21.5 points per game). As a junior he also recorded a tackle for loss in 11 out of the Red Wolves' 13 games and had a season-high three sacks against New Mexico State.
Players may be added or removed from the watch list during the course of the season. As in previous seasons, the FWAA will announce a National Defensive Player of the Week each Tuesday throughout the season. If not already on the watch list, each week's honored player will be added at that time. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2017 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Thurs., Nov. 16.
The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner will be chosen from those five finalists. 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. Committee members, by individual ballot, select the winner they regard as the best defensive player in college football.
Season tickets for the Red Wolves' 2017 football campaign, which includes six home games, are available for purchase. Arkansas State has had 12 consecutive seasons with a winning record at home and has won 30 of its lasts 36 games at Centennial Bank Stadium.
Single game tickets will be available for purchase beginning Aug. 1.