CHICAGO – Two Southern Conference football student-athletes were added to the watch list for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, STATS announced Thursday. The Citadel’s Willie Eubanks III and ETSU’s Artevius Smith were among the 16 players added to the list.
The Buchanan Award, which is named for the former Grambling State and Kansas City Chiefs great, has since 1995 honored the defensive player of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision.
The Citadel’s Eubanks is the first Bulldog to be on the Buchanan Award watch list since Kalik Williams was on the preseason watch list in 2017. Through the first 10 games of the season, Eubanks has posted 92 tackles, 51 solo, 7.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 10 quarterback hurries. The junior linebacker from Augusta, Georgia, has posted five double-digit tackle performances, including four in the last six games.
Eubanks got off to a strong start to the season in being named the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Month for September. During that month, he posted a career-high 13 tackles against Elon and also made three straight stops on the goal line to preserve the win against Charleston Southern.
ETSU’s Smith has been a one-man wrecking crew in the secondary for the Bucs this season, wrapping up 66 tackles and pulling in four interceptions on the season. The Birmingham, Alabama, native has also forced one fumble and broken up four passes through the first nine games this season. The redshirt senior ranks 11th in the Southern Conference in tackles per game (7.3), while his four interceptions lead the league.
Smith has twice been named SoCon Defensive Player of the Week for his performances against Furman and Samford. Smith finished with just five tackles against the Paladins on Sept. 28 but was able to come down with his second interceptions in as many games, while also lodging a ball loose for his only forced fumble this season. Smith was later a recipient of the award for the second time this season for 10 tackles and one interception at Samford on Oct. 26.
Smith has recorded double-digit tackles twice this season, earning a career-best 11 tackles against Appalachian State in the season opener on Aug. 31. In the last four games, Smith has accumulated 36 tackles, averaging 9.0 per game.
ETSU defensive lineman Nasir Player and defensive back Tyree Robinson and Furman bandit linebacker Adrian Hope have been members of the watch list for the Buchanan Award since the preseason.
A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the Buchanan winner following the regular season. Past recipients include Dexter Coakley, Rashean Mathis, Jared Allen and Arthur Moats.
Also in the postseason, 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.