Oct. 28, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University senior defensive end Mkristo Bruce's strong season is being recognized with his inclusion on several national defensive player of the year ballots. Over the past week Bruce has been named a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi, Chuck Bednarik and Ted Hendricks awards, along with being named a quarterfinalist for the Ronnie Lott Trophy.
Bruce is one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, given annually to the college football lineman -- offense or defense -- who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the discipline of Vince Lombardi.
Bruce is among 15 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, present by the Maxwell Club recognizing the defensive player of the year. The Ted Hendricks Award is given annually to the nation's top defensive end. The Lott Trophy, presented by The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation, includes Bruce among 17 quarterfinalists. The award honors college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year and gives equal weight to personal character as well as athletic performance.
Two weeks ago Bruce was named to the mid-season All-America teams of several outlets, including CNNSI.com, CollegeFootballNews.com and cbssportsline.com. The latter labeled Bruce as the best defensive player in the nation at the season's midway point.
Bruce has helped the Cougars to a 5-3 record entering Saturday's game at UCLA, leading a WSU defense that ranks third in the Pacific-10 Conference by allowing just over 19 points per game.
In addition to his 10 sacks, Bruce has registered 50 tackles, second on the team, to go with 11 tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. Earlier this season, he tied a Pacific-10 Conference record with five sacks against Stanford. Bruce enters this Saturday's game at UCLA third on WSU's all-time sacks list with 28.5, four shy of former teammate D.D. Acholonu and nine shy of DeWayne Patterson's school record.