Johnston and Lynch added to national watch lists

WACO, Texas Senior linebacker Clay Johnston was named to the watch list for the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, while defensive lineman James Lynch was named to the 2019 Outland Trophy Watch List, it was announced today.

Johnston is a candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is given to the nation’s top defensive player of the year, while Lynch is a candidate for the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s top interior lineman.

Johnston is one of 36 linebackers out of the 92 defensive standouts on the Nagurski Trophy watch list, the first Bear to be named to the watch list since Ira Lewis in 2018. He is one of 11 Big 12 student-athletes named to the list.

A fifth-year senior, Johnston is one of the top linebackers in the conference after earning 2018 All-Big 12 second team honors. He was recently named a Preseason All-Big 12 selection and was named to the watch list for the 2019 Butkus Award. He finished the 2018 campaign ranking fifth in the Big 12 with 99 total tackles and fifth with 8.25 tackles per game. In the month of November, the Abilene, Texas, native averaged 13.3 tackles per game, including a career-high 17 tackles in the Bears’ come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State on Homecoming. Overall, the MIKE linebacker has 179 career tackles, the most on the team.

For the second-straight season the Bears have a candidate on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, as Ira Lewis was a candidate in 2018. Lynch is one of 12 Big 12 student-athletes named to the watch list and one of 19 defensive tackles on the 83-man list. This is the first career Outland Trophy watch list honor for Lynch, who is a Preseason All-Big 12 selection and a candidate for the 2019 Bednarik Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate defensive player.

Lynch, a 2017 ESPN Freshman All-American, boasts career totals of 14.0 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks, the most on the Bears' roster. In 2018, Lynch was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection and an AP All-Big 12 First Team honoree as he led the team and ranked ninth in the conference with 5.5 sacks and 9.0 tackles-for-loss.

Both Johnston and Lynch are looking to become the first Bears to win the Nagurski Trophy and Outland Trophy, respectively.

The 25th Annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet will be held on Dec. 9 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2019 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate former UCLA All-American Jerry Robinson, the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is the keynote speaker.

The Outland Trophy winner is chosen from three finalists who are a part of the annual FWAA All-America Team. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the entire membership, selects a 26-man first team and eventually the three Outland finalists. Committee members, then by individual ballot, select the winner. Only interior linemen on offense or defense are eligible for the award; ends are not eligible.