Defensive coordinator Clayton White named 2019 Broyles Award nominee

NCAA Football 2019: WKU vs Arkansas

Drake Kizer

The WKU football team had a member of its coaching staff listed listed as a nominee for the prestigious Broyles Award, it was announced on Wednesday.

WKU defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Clayton White was named one of 41 candidates for the exclusive honor, which recognizes the top assistant coach out of approximately 1,500 in 130 Football Bowl Subdivision programs across the country.

White is one of 22 defensive coordinators, one of 17 Group of Five coaches and one of two coordinators from Conference USA (along with Alabama-Birmingham defensive coordinator David Reeves) to be nominated for the award.

White was previously honored as a Broyles Award nominee during the 2017 season, his first on the Hill, among 55 other coaches.

White’s full-time defensive coaching staff — which was mostly kept intact by head coach Tyson Helton after former head coach Mike Sanford was fired —  consists of Maurice Crum (linebackers), Andy LaRussa (safeties), Jimmy Lindsey (defensive ends) and Kenny Martin (defensive tackles).

Through 10 games this season, the Hilltoppers (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) rank among the best in the nation in:

  • Passing first downs allowed (64 total, tied for seventh)
  • Completion percentage against (53.5% rate, tied for 11th)
  • Passing defense (181.5 yards per game, 12th)
  • Third down defense (29.7% conversion rate, 12th)
  • First downs allowed (15.9 per game, tied for 13th)
  • Red zone appearances against (23 total, tied for 15th)
  • 10-yard rushes against (31 total, tied for 16th)
  • Red zone defense (73.9% scoring rate, 18th)
  • Total defense (320 yards per game, 22nd)
  • Scoring defense (20.5 points per game, 25th)

WKU’s well-rounded defensive unit boasts eight players with multiple tackles for loss, seven players with multiple quarterback hurries, seven players with an interception, six players with multiple pass breakups and four players with at least 66 tackles.

Junior defensive end DeAngelo Malone leads C-USA with 18 tackles for loss and nine sacks, while those numbers rank tied for second and sixth in the nation, respectively.

Another defensive end, redshirt sophomore Juwuan Jones, has nine tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks on the season, building on his 2018 FWAA Freshman All-American campaign.

Junior linebacker Kyle Bailey’s 7.7 tackles per game rank 11th in C-USA, while his two interceptions vs. UAB on Sept. 28 have him tied for sixth.

Redshirt junior safety Devon Key and junior safety Antwon Kincade have combined for 134 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 10 pass breakups, while each of them grabbed an interception at Arkansas last Saturday.

The defensive tackles have also put forth some stellar production, combining for 79 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries in White’s 4-2-5 scheme.

A 20-member selection committee of distinguished former head coaches, broadcasters and a committee representing the FWAA will select 15 semifinalists and five finalists from the list of nominees and an overall winner.

Those finalists will be invited to travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, where the 2019 Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at [email protected] Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.