Widespread talent on Buck Buchanan Award Watch List

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - The race for the 2018 STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award figures to be wide open after a standout preseason watch list of 25 players was announced Thursday.

At least one player from all 13 conferences are nominees for the national defensive player of the year award. Ten were nominees or finalists last season, when former Jacksonville State defensive end Darius Jackson claimed the Buchanan.

First awarded in 1995, it has sent past winners such as Dexter Coakley, Rashean Mathis, Jared Allen, Arthur Moats and Kyle Emanuel on to the NFL.

The watch list will have updates during the season. A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will vote on 25 finalists following the regular season.

The players named to the preseason watch list:

Nasir Adderley, Delaware, S, Sr., 6-0, 190

2017: 78 tackles (42 solo), 4 TFL, 5 INTs, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 2 FF, 1 BK; CAA Football first team

Bryson Armstrong, Kennesaw State, LB, So., 5-11, 205

2017: 114 tackles, 11 sacks, 3 INTs, 7 PBU, 4 FR, 3 FF; STATS FCS Jerry Rice Award winner; Big South Co-Freshman of the Year; STATS FCS All-America third team

Willie Barrett, Marist, LB, R-Sr., 5-11, 227

2017: 53 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 2 QB hurries, 3 FR, 3 FF; All-Pioneer Football League first team

Marlon Bridges, Jacksonville State, S, Jr., 6-0, 200

2017: 79 tackles, 6 TFL, 3 INTs, 5 PBU, 1 BK; All-Ohio Valley first team; STATS FCS All-America third team

Miles Brown, Wofford, DL, Sr., 6-2, 320

2017: 44 tackles, 10 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 QB hurries; All-SoCon first team; STATS FCS All-America third team

Josh Buss, Montana, LB, Sr., 6-2, 220

2017: 94 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 2 INTs, All-Big Sky second team

De'Arius Christmas, Grambling State, LB, Sr., 5-10, 220

2017: 87 tackles, 16.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 2 FF; SWAC Defensive Player of the Year

Andrew Clyde, Richmond, DT, Sr., 6-3, 275

2017: 41 tackles, 11 TFL, 9 sacks, 7 QB hurries; All-CAA first team; STATS FCS All-America third team

Thomas Costigan, Bryant, LB, Sr., 6-3, 230

2017: 103 tackles, 17 TFL, 11.5 sacks, 1 INT, 4 FF; NEC Defensive Player of the Year

Ahmad Gooden, Samford, DE, Sr., 6-1, 240

2017: 101 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 11 QB hurries, 2 FR, 1 FF; SoCon Defensive Player of the Year; STATS FCS All-America second team

Darin Greenfield, South Dakota, DE, Jr., 6-3, 235

2017: 59 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 9 sacks, 1 PBU, 11 QB hurries; All-Missouri Valley first team; STATS FCS All-America third team

Robbie Grimsley, North Dakota State, S, Sr., 6-0, 191

2017: 69 tackles, 4 TFL, 4 INTs, 8 PBU, 2 FR; All-Missouri Valley first team; STATS FCS All-America second team

Darryl Johnson Jr., North Carolina A&T, DE, R-Jr., 6-5, 226

2017: 38 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 4 QB hurries, 1 FR, 4 FF; All-MEAC first team

Greg Menard, North Dakota State, DE, Sr., 6-2, 238

2017: Injured; 2016: 62 TT, 15.5 TFL, 11 sacks, 1 PBU, 4 QB hurries, 2 FR, 2 FF, 1 BK; All-Missouri Valley first team

Warren Messer, Elon, LB, Sr., 5-11, 230

2017: 114 tackles, 11 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 FF, 1 safety; All-CAA first team; STATS FCS All-America second team

Nick Miller, Penn, LB, Sr., 5-11, 215

2017: 104 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INTs, 4 FR, 3 FF; All-Ivy first team

Davanta Reynolds, North Carolina Central, S, Sr., 5-10, 200

2017: 54 tackles, 6 INTs, 1 FR, 2 TDs; All-MEAC first team

Rashad Robinson, James Madison, CB, Sr., 5-11, 182

2017: 51 tackles, 7 INTs, 9 PBU; All-CAA first team; STATS FCS All-America third team

Christian Rozeboom, South Dakota State, LB, Jr., 6-2, 230

2017: 128 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 3 FR, 1 FF; All-Missouri Valley first team; STATS FCS All-America second team

Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois, DE, Sr., 6-2, 310

2017: 57 tackles, 12 TFL, 8 sacks, 1 FR, 3 FF; All-Missouri Valley first team

Chris Stewart, Sam Houston State, DE, Sr., 6-2, 270

2017: 66 TT, 19 TFL, 13 sacks, 13 QB hurries, 1 FR, 1 FF, 2 BK; All-Southland second team

Chris Terrell, Central Arkansas, DE, Jr., 6-3, 266

2017: 51 tackles, 20 TFL, 11 sacks, 1 FR, 3 FF; All-Southland first team; STATS FCS All-America second team

Marvin Tillman, Western Carolina, S, Sr., 6-1, 190

2017: 96 tackles, 5 INTs, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF; All-SoCon first team

Nick Wheeler, Colgate, DE, Jr., 6-2, 245

2017: 38 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 11.5 sacks, 8 QB hurries; All-Patriot first team

Jaison Williams, Austin Peay, DE, Jr., 6-1, 225

2017: 44 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 9.5 sacks, 13 QB hurries, 4 FF; All-Ohio Valley first team; STATS FCS All-America third team

The breakdown of the watch list by position: 11 defensive linemen, eight linebackers and six defensive backs. The Missouri Valley Football Conference had the most preseason nominees with five followed by CAA Football with four and the Southern Conference with three.

Also this season, STATS will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Updated August 2, 2018

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