Senior defensive linemen Andre Branch and Brandon Thompson were named one of 48 tandems on the 2011 Pony Express Award Watch List, announced Tuesday. The award, the brainchild of SMU’s legendary Pony Express backfield of Craig James and Eric Dickerson, will look at two and three-player tandems from across the nation, ultimately honoring the combination whose work ethic, desire , on and off-field leadership, and playmaking ability best fuels its team.
Branch, a defensive end from Richmond, VA, has 112 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks in 34 career games (13 starts). He has made at least one tackle in 27 straight games. In 2010, he totaled 55 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, 16 quarterback pressures, and seven pass breakups in starting all 13 games.
Thompson, a defensive tackle from Thomasville, GA, has 131 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks in 39 career games (25 starts). In 2010, he registered 56 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and 15 quarterback pressures.
Both Tigers were big reasons Clemson was 13th in the nation in scoring defense (18.8) and 19th in the country in total defense (320.3) in 2010.