Connect with us

UK Football

Maxwell Hairston Named Bronko Nagurski Trophy National Player of the Week

Photo by: Brendon Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Lexington – September 26, 2023

Maxwell Hairston is swiping awards nearly as quickly as he does opponent passes these days, being named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, the Football Writers Association of America announced Tuesday.

Hairston, who also earned the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, tied an SEC record by returning two interceptions for touchdowns in a 45-28 victory over Vanderbilt in the Wildcats’ league opener last weekend. The performance was especially poignant given the Commodores completed a long pass against Hairston in the final minutes of last season’s upset victory when, then a freshman, Hairston had to replace a banged-up Carrington Valentine for a play.

The sophomore from West Bloomfield, Michigan, enacted his revenge on Saturday.

Each week during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce finalists for the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 15. The national defensive player of the year will be chosen from those finalists who are part of the 2023 FWAA All-America Team and presented with the trophy at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet on Dec. 4 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Players may be added or removed from the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list during the course of the season. If not already on the watch list, each week’s honored player, including Hairston this week, will be added at that time.

On Vanderbilt’s second possession he broke on, and picked off, a floating pass near the sideline and easily raced 29 yards untouched for the touchdown to give UK a 14-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, he snatched a pass near the same sideline and weaved his way 54 yards to the end zone, sealing UK’s win.

For the game, Hairston had four tackles, three pass breakups and the two interceptions for 83 return yards. Two of the breakups came on series of downs that ended in punts.  He also helped keep short completions from turning into long plays, as all four of his tackles came on plays of 11 yards or less. Add linebacker D’Eryk Jackson’s interception and UK caused three turnovers on the day in defeating Vanderbilt for the seventh time in the past nine meetings. On the season, Hairston has 23 tackles, one tackle for loss, three interceptions, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Kentucky returns to Kroger Field Saturday when it plays host to Florida at noon on ESPN. The game is sold out. UK Athletics urges fans to use caution against counterfeit and invalid tickets. Only tickets purchased directly through the following outlets are guaranteed to be valid:

UK Athletics cautions against purchasing tickets through other outlets that may be unable to provide this assurance. That risk is magnified for sold-out games like Saturday’s.

Sponsored By

More in UK Football