The consistent excellence of New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans and Wofford defensive end Ameet Pall this season have led to their inclusion in the race for the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award, sponsored by Fathead.com.
The stellar 20-player Watch List will be pared to the Football Championship Subdivision’s top individual honor for defensive players. The Buchanan Award is in its 16th season and will be presented to the FCS’ outstanding defensive player at the national awards banquet on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas – the night before the national championship game.
Evans, a 6-foot, 219-pound redshirt sophomore, has posted double figures in tackles in eight of New Hampshire’s nine games, including a career-high 20 against William & Mary. He is tied for third in the FCS with 12.56 tackles per game. He also leads the Wildcats with 56 solo tackles and 11 tackles for a loss, while registering three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
Pall, a 6-foot, 245-pound junior, has been a dominant force at defensive end, collecting 19.5 tackles for a loss through Wofford’s nine games to rank second in the FCS. He has 12.5 sacks among his team-leading 43 tackles, with a season-high three sacks against Furman. He also has six quarterback hurries. Behind Pall, the Terriers have gone from a 3-8 record in 2009 to 8-1 in 2010.
Evans and Pall join the Buchanan Award Watch List alongside defensive tackles Kenrick Ellis of Hampton and Martin Parker of Richmond; nose tackle Brent Russell of Georgia Southern; defensive ends Jabari Fletcher of Appalachian State and Malcolm Taylor of Alcorn State; linebackers Tyler Holmes of Massachusetts, Eric McBride of Richmond, J.C. Sherritt of Eastern Washington (last year’s runner-up for the award), Bryce Smith of Samford, D.J. Smith of Appalachian State, Antoine Wilkinson of Missouri State and Jabara Williams of Stephen F. Austin; cornerbacks Jeremy Caldwell of Eastern Kentucky, Korey Lindsey of Southern Illinois and Trumaine Johnson of Montana; and safeties Mark LeGree of Appalachian State, Eugene Clifford of Tennessee State and James Vercammen of Dayton.
A panel of nearly 175 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the Buchanan Award winner after the regular season.
The Sports Network also presents the Walter Payton and Eddie Robinson awards which are sponsored by Fathead. The Payton Award honors the FCS’ outstanding player and the Robinson Award honors the FCS coach of the year. Those two awards, like the Buchanan, will be presented at the national awards banquet.