St. Louis, Mo., December 12, 2013 — Washington University in St. Louis defensive lineman Nelson Nwumeh has been named a finalist for the inaugural Cliff Harris Award, presented annually to the top small college defensive football player in the country.
Nwumeh is one of 49 finalists representing almost 500 NCAA Division II, III and NAIA colleges and universities. Head coaches and a prestigious selection committee of college and pro football greats choose nominees and finalists from all three divisions and an overall winner.
Nwumeh, a second-team D3football.com all-South Region honoree, earned University Athletic Association (UAA) Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior after leading the team with 79 tackles and four forced fumbles. He was also second on the squad in pass break-ups (six), and sacks (3.5). A first-team all-UAA selection, Nwumeh is the 10th player in school history to earn UAA Defensive Player of the Year honors.
He also ranked first in conference games only in forced fumbles (two) and tackles for loss (six), and was third in sacks (two) and fourth in tackles (26). Nwumeh made a career-high 10 tackles on three occasions, and finished his four-year career with 142 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. A three-time all-UAA honoree, he competed in the Fourth Annual National Bowl Game Dec. 8 in Miami.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 24, and honored at the Little Rock Touchdown Club's annual awards banquet in February 2014 featuring guest speaker Lou Holtz. The winner will receive the $3,000 Cliff Harris Award Trophy.