Brian Nordstrom, who leads Conference USA and is tied for sixth nationally in tackles for loss, is one of 32 defensive ends who have been named to the Mid-Season Watch list for the 2014 Ted Hendricks Award.
A final list of candidates will be announced at the end of November. Nordstrom is the first Owl to be named to the list since Scott Solomon, who was a member of the final list of candidates in 2011.
A former walk-on, Nordstrom has blossomed into a defensive leader in his first year as a starter. More than half the junior's tackles this season have resulted in a loss (14 of 25) and his average of 1.75 TFL per game leads Conference USA and are tied for sixth nationally. He has recorded at least one TFL in seven of eight games this year. His 14 tackles for loss rank eighth on the Rice season chart. He also has a career-high five sacks this season to rank second on the team.
He was recognized by Phil Steele as a member of his All C-USA Midseason second team. An engineering major with a 3.62 GPA, Nordstrom is also a candidate for national and conference all-academic honors.
Nordstrom is the second Rice defensive end to earn national award recognition this week. Senior Zach Patt was named the Nagurski Award National Defensive Player of the Week after setting a school record with five sacks vs. FIU. By virtue of winning that weekly honor, Patt was added to the Nagurski Award Watch list.
Presented by the Ted Hendricks Foundation, the Ted Hendricks Award has honored the nation's top defensive end since 2002. The award is named for Ted Hendricks, college football's first three-time first-team All-American. As a defensive end at the University of Miami, Hendricks used his agility, height and reach to block passes and kicks, force interceptions and pressure quarterbacks and running backs. His professional career spanned 15 years and 215 consecutive games. It included four Super Bowl victories, eight Pro Bowl selections and inductions into the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
All candidates' primary position must be defensive end. Their on-field performance, exceptional winning attitude, leadership abilities, contributions to school and community and academic preparedness are some of the criteria used to determine the winner.
Members of the national media, head coaches, professional scouts and former winners are included in the Award's voting committee. Candidates may represent any class (freshman through senior) as well as any four-year NCAA accredited school.
Previous recipients of the Hendricks Award include: 2002 - Terrell Suggs (Arizona State), 2003-04 - David Pollack (Georgia), 2005 - Elvis Dumervil (Louisville), 2006 - LaMarr Woodley (Michigan), 2007 - Chris Long (Virginia), 2008 - Brian Orakpo (Texas), 2009 - Jerry Hughes (TCU), 2010 - Da'Quan Bowers (Clemson), 2011 -Whitney Mercilus (Illinois), 2012 - Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina) and 2013 - Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas).
The Hendricks Award voting committee will cast two votes: one to narrow the list of candidates to 4-6 finalists, and one to choose our winner for this season. The final Mid-Season Watch List will be announced in late November. The 2014 winner will be announced on December 11.