EL PASO, Texas – UTEP football’s Praise Amaewhule was one of 85 defensive standouts in Division I FBS to be selected to the 2022 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List as announced by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) on Tuesday.

The Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually to the best defensive player in all of college football.

Amaewhule was named to the 2021 All-Conference USA first team. The redshirt junior, who started all 13 games, led the Miners with 13 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles. The redshirt junior rated second on the team in sacks (5.5) and breakups (seven). He ranked 22nd nationally in forced fumbles (.23).

The 6-3, 245-pound had a dominating performance that helped the Miners rally from a 13-3 deficit at halftime to a 20-13 victory against New Mexico. Amaewhule posted 1.5 tackles for losses, a forced fumble, two pass breakups and racked up a career-high seven QB pressures against the Lobos.

The product from Katy, Texas, filled the stat sheet at Southern Miss. Amaewhule tallied five tackles (all solo), with 2.0 tackles for loss, a sack and two pass breakups. His forced fumble against the Golden Eagles led to a defensive TD on a scoop-and-score by teammate Breon Hayward.

During a comeback victory against ODU, Amaewhule led the Miners with a career-high eight tackles along with a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Amaewhule registered single sacks versus NM State, New Mexico, ODU, Southern Miss and Florida Atlantic.

Amaewhule has 15.5 career sacks and is 4.5 away from tying the program’s all-time leader (Gonzalo Floyd – 20.0 sacks).

Amaewhule was also recognized to the Conference USA Preseason Watch List, the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football All-Texas Team, Athlon Sports All-C-USA Preseason Honor, and Phil Steele’s All-C-USA First Team.

The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2022 trophy on Nov. 16 and the winner will be unveiled Dec. 5 at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.

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.

The Miners kick off the 2022 season with a home opener against North Texas on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Sun Bowl.