CHICAGO – ETSU defensive lineman Nasir Player and defensive back Tyree Robinson and Furman bandit linebacker Adrian Hope are among the 25 players on the initial watch list for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, STATS announced Thursday.
First awarded in 1995, the Buchanan, which honors the FCS defensive player of the year, has sent past winners such as Dexter Coakley, Rashean Mathis, Jared Allen, Arthur Moats and Kyle Emanuel on to the NFL. Southeast Missouri linebacker Zach Hall returns to the list after winning the award as a junior last season. Appalachian State’s Coakley, who is the SoCon’s lone winner of the award, claimed the honor in 1995 and 1996.
The 2019 season will mark the 25th anniversary of the award, which will be presented the week of the FCS national championship game in January.
More players can join the watch list during the 2019 season. A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the winner following the regular season.
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.
Player was a STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award finalist a season ago. Earlier this week, the 2019 Preseason SoCon Defensive Player of the Year was tabbed to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America first team. Player finished the 2018 campaign with 43 tackles (25 solo), 11 tackles for loss, six sacks and three forced fumbles. A Columbia, South Carolina, native, Player was named to first-team All-SoCon in 2018, as well as earning a spot on three All-America squads. This is the fourth preseason honor for Player, as he has previously been named to three preseason All-America teams.
Robinson received his second recognition of the week, garnering a spot on the watch list after being named to the STATS FCS Preseason All-America second team on Tuesday. Robinson was selected to the watch list after a breakout sophomore stint in which he was named first-team All-SoCon and earned spots on four All-America squads. Robinson finished the season with 71 tackles (47 solo), six interceptions, 2.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and two defensive touchdowns. The Gainesville, Georgia, native led the SoCon in interceptions (six) and passes defended (15). This is the third preseason honor for him, as he earned a spot on the HERO Sports Preseason All-America second team on June 6 in addition to the two awards this week.
A year ago, Hope burst onto the scene by registering an FCS-leading 15.0 sacks in just 10 games and playing a pivotal role in Furman claiming a share of the program’s 14th Southern Conference championship. The Ocala, Florida, product, who ranked second nationally with five forced fumbles, earned consensus All-SoCon honors and landed Associated Press second team All-America laurels while finishing fourth in balloting (tops among defenders) for the STATS Jerry Rice Award, which is presented annually to the top freshman in the FCS.
Hope delivered 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in Furman’s 35-30, SoCon title-clinching road victory over Mercer, a performance that netted him league player of the week and November player of the month accolades. He notched takedowns in eight of the Paladins’ 10 games, collecting his first in Furman’s season opening contest against eventual FBS national champion Clemson and a season-high three sacks in a 44-38 triumph over Western Carolina. He was credited with seven takedowns over the final three games. The 15.0 sacks represent the third highest season tally in Furman history and rank him sixth on the program’s all-time sacks list.
For STATS’ full release, click here.