WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest seniors Essang Bassey and Justin Herron have been named to national watch lists at their respective positions. Bassey, a senior cornerback who was named to the Jim Thrope Award watch list on July 22, has had his name added to the Bronko Nagurski Award watch list. Herron, a sixth-year offensive tackle, has been named to the Outland Trophy Award watch list.
The Nagurski Award is presented each year to the nation’s top defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. The Outland Trophy, presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, is given to the nation’s best interior lineman.
“We hated losing Justin in 2018 but we are getting a quality player back who has played football at a high level,” said head coach Dave Clawson. “Having him back will be a boost for our program in 2019.
“It is nice to see Essang be recognized for his outstanding play,” continued Clawson. “We have high expectations for him in 2019.”
Bassey, a 5-10, 190-pound senior cornerback from Columbus, Ga. (Columbus) was Wake Forest's most consistent defensive back in 2018. He has led the Deacons in pass break-ups in each of the last two seasons, logging 15 break-ups as a junior after recording 16 as a sophomore in 2017. Bassey has two career touchdowns, scoring on a fumble return last year and on an interception return in 2016. He enters his senior season with four career interceptions and his 28 career starts are the most of any Wake Forest defensive player. His 34 career pass break-ups ranks him fifth in school history.
Herron is a 6-5, 290-pound grad student beginning his sixth year with the Deacons. After a redshirt season in 2014, he became Wake Forest’s starting left tackle in 2015 and started all but one game over the next three years. Herron suffered a torn ACL in the season-opener in 2018 and is expected to return to the starting line-up in 2019 following a successful rehabilitation. His 38 career starts is the most of any player on the team.
Wake Forest will play its Opening Night game against Utah State at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 30 at BB&T Field.