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Walton Named Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player Of The Week

Sept. 17, 2002

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame senior Shane Walton (San Diego, Calif./The Bishops’ School) has been selected as the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for the weekend of Sept. 14. The Irish cornerback registered a career-high eight tackles (six unassisted), forced a fumble and recovered another in Notre Dame’s 25-23 win over No. 7 Michigan last Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Walton also batted away the Wolverines’ potential game-tying two-point conversion pass with 2:53 remaining, and then intercepted a Michigan pass in the final seconds to clinch the victory.

A three-person panel from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) selects the winner of the weekly award. Walton’s name will be added to the Watch List for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded annually to the nation’s top defensive player. The Nagurski Trophy will be presented Dec. 9 in Charlotte, N.C., by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

Walton leads the nation in interceptions this season with 1.33 per game (four total), including a school-record-tying three thefts in Notre Dame’s season-opening win over No. 21 Maryland at Kickoff Classic XX. Walton became the first Irish player since Dave Duerson (vs. Navy, 1982) to record three interceptions in one game, tying a Kickoff Classic record in the process. All told, Walton has had a hand in six of Notre Dame’s 11 takeaways this season, helping the Irish rank 12th in the nation in turnover margin (+2.0 per game, +6 overall).

No. 12 Notre Dame (3-0), which is off to its best start since 1996, returns to action at 3:30 p.m. EDT (2:30 p.m. EST in South Bend) Saturday when it travels to East Lansing, Mich., to take on Michigan State at Spartan Stadium. That game will be televised on a regional basis by ABC.

— ND —