Rose, McDonald & Eisworth on Nagurski Trophy watch list

Oct 3, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald IV (9) celebrates a sack during their football game at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State would go on to defeat Oklahoma 37-30. Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.

AMES, Iowa – A trio of Cyclones – Mike Rose (LB), Will McDonald IV (DE) and Greg Eisworth II (S) – were named to the 2021 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, announced today and given annually to the nation’s best defensive player.

Iowa State is one of five teams nationally to have three or more players represented.

A senior from Brecksville, Ohio, Rose was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Big 12 First Team recipient in 2020 while leading the Cyclones to a win over Oregon in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.

Rose, who has started all 38 games in his outstanding career, was named to multiple All-America teams in 2020 and has earned All-Big 12 recognition in each of his three seasons in Ames.

Rose had the most tackles in the Big 12 (96) and was credited with 10.5 TFL, ranking third on the team. The Cyclone star also led all NCAA linebackers nationally with five interceptions, the most by a Cyclone linebacker in school history.

A senior from Pewaukee, Wis., McDonald IV has developed into one of the most dominant pass-rushers in college football despite never starting a game in his career.

McDonald IV was a First Team All-Big 12 selection in 2020 after leading the Big 12 and tying for first nationally in overall sacks at 10.5, setting a new ISU single-season record. He also recorded 33 tackles and ranked fourth in the league in TFL (13.5). 

McDonald IV tallied at least 0.5 sack in nine of 12 games played last year and his 17.5 career sacks ranks third in school history.

A native of Grand Prairie, Texas, Eisworth II is the only Cyclone in school history to be named First Team All-Big 12 three times (2018-20). The heart and soul of the Cyclone secondary will enter his super senior season (sixth year) with 33 starts, 199 tackles, 9.0 TFL, 19 pass breakups and three interceptions in his career.

Eisworth II, who was the 2018 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, was outstanding in 2020, registering 47 tackles, 1.5 TFL, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.