Dec. 6, 2003
UCLA senior defensive end Dave Ball has been named the ABC-Chevrolet National Defensive Player of the Year. The announcement was made on ABC at halftime of the Big 12 championship game between Oklahoma and Kansas State. The award includes a $2,500 donation in Ball's name to UCLA's general scholarship fund.
Ball is a finalist for three other major awards. He is one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, presented annually to the nation's top defensive player. He is also one of four finalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented to the nation's top lineman, and one of six finalists for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. He has now started in 38 of the last 41 Bruin games and the last 19 straight.
The Nagurski winner will be announced on Monday night at a banquet in Charlotte, NC while the Lombardi winner will be announced Wednesday night at a banquet in Houston, TX. Ball will be in attendance at both events. He will also be in Orlando, FL on Thursday and Friday for the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN and the Football Writers Assn. All-America team celebration.
In addition, Ball is leading the nation in quarterback sacks. He is also tied for fifth nationally in forced fumbles per game (0.42 - five total) and tied for ninth in tackles for loss per game (1.71 - 20.5 total).
On the year, he leads the defensive line with 54 tackles (fifth on the team), including 16.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss, both team highs. He also leads the team with five forced fumbles.