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Michigan State Football: Jacob Slade (Outland Trophy), Xavier Henderson (Bronko Nagurski Trophy) named to watch lists

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Michigan State at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Players on the Michigan State football team continue to earn 2022 preseason recognition, as two more Spartans were named to watch lists for prestigious awards on Tuesday.

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Jacob Slade made the watch list for the Outland Trophy, awarded to college football’s best interior lineman (offense or defense). Meanwhile, fifth-year senior safety Xavier Henderson was added to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, which is given to the best defensive player in college football. Both awards are presented by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

The Outland Trophy is named after John H. Outland, a football player at Pennsylvania and Kansas in the late 1800s, and later a coach in the early 1900s. Outland is a College Football Hall of Famer.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is of course named after Bronislau ”Bronko” Nagurski, who played college football for Minnesota in the the late 1920s and and professional football for the Chicago Bears in 1930s and 1940s. Nagurski is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame.

Slade enters his fifth season at Michigan State as one of the best returning defensive tackles in the Big Ten. In 2021, he recorded 40 tackles, five tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Slade was a first-team All-Big Ten selection from Pro Football Focus, earned second-team All-Big Ten recognition by the Associated Press, garnered third-team honors by the media and received honorable mention accolades by the coaches.

Overall, Slade has played in 34 career games with the Spartans, including 19 starts. He has recorded 68 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and four pass break-ups during that span.

Michigan State has had one previous Outland Trophy winner, as Ed Bagdon won the award way back in 1949. The full Outland Trophy 2022 preseason watch list can be viewed here.

Henderson, who was named to the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list on Monday (college football’s best defensive back), decided to use his extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA’s COVID-19 waiver to return to Michigan State in 2022.

In 2021, Henderson amassed 96 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. He earned third-team All-Big Ten honors by the media and Pro Football Focus, while receiving honorable mention recognition by the coaches.

Henderson is the Spartans’ active career tackle leader with 235. He has played in 46 career games and started 33 consecutive games. Henderson has also recorded 13.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three interceptions, eight pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

The Spartans have never had a Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner. The full 2022 preseason watch list for the trophy can be accessed here.