Jul 16, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones linebacker Marcel Spears Jr. speaks to the media during Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The following is a press release courtesy of Iowa State athletics communications.
AMES, Iowa – Three Cyclone football players were honored today during preseason watch list season.
Defensive lineman Ray Lima was included on the Outland Trophy and Nagurski Trophy watch lists, while Marcel Spears Jr., and JaQuan Bailey were also mentioned as top performers for the Nagurski Trophy.
The Outland Trophy is presented to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman by the Football Writers Association of America and the Nagurski Trophy is given to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
Lima has been one of the key cogs in Iowa State’s resurgence on defense the past two seasons as one of the best run-stoppers in the nation.
The Los Angeles, Calif., native is a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was a first-team all-league choice by ESPN in 2018.
The 2018 co-captain has started 21 games and recorded 59 tackles and 8.0 TFL in his career.
Spears has started every game of the last two seasons, earning Honorable Mention All-Big 12 accolades in 2017 and 2018.
A native of Olathe, Kan., Spears enters his senior season with 180 tackles, 16.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks and four interceptions in his career. Three times in his career he’s been named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
Spears is one of three active FBS linebackers with two pick-sixes in his career. He also has four career double-digit tackle games and two of his interceptions have sealed victories for the Cyclones in the fourth quarter.
Bailey is one of the greatest defensive ends in school history. The two-time All-Big 12 selection, including a second-teamer in 2018, is currently tied with Shawn Moorehead for the most career sacks in Iowa State history (18.5). His 18.5 career sacks ranks third among active NCAA FBS players.
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Bailey has started the last 33 games in his Cyclone career. His 31.5 career TFL ranks fifth in school history and is 2.5 shy from the school record.
In 2018, Bailey led the team and ranked fourth in the Big 12 in sacks (8.0), the third-best season total in school history. He also led the team in TFL, registering the ninth-best season total in the Cyclone record book at 14.5.