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By Craig Haley, FCS Exec. Director - Archive - Email
Four linebackers join Buchanan Award Watch List
Buck Buchanan Award The 20th Buck Buchanan Award winner will be announced on Dec. 15.
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The most decorated position in the history of the Buck Buchanan Award is linebacker.

Tuesday's addition of four more linebackers to the Watch List for the outstanding defensive player in the FCS is a perfect fit. There's no denying the dominance of Villanova's Don Cherry, Southeastern Louisiana's Isiah Corbett, Cal Poly's Nick Dzubnar and Sacramento State's Darnell Sankey this season.

The Buchanan, presented by The Sports Network, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this season.

The newcomers to the Watch List:

Don Cherry, LB, Villanova, Jr., 6-1, 221, Trumbull, Connecticut


The fast, physical pass rusher leads CAA Football in tackles per game (10.3) and forced fumbles (five, the national high), and ranks second in sacks (nine) and tackles for loss (14.5). Instinctive in his ball pursuit, he has helped Villanova to first place in the CAA and a No. 5 national ranking.

Isiah Corbett, LB, Southeastern Louisiana, Sr., 6-3, 250, Belle Glade, Florida

One of the more feared defensive players in the Southland Conference, Corbett has helped the Lions to national prominence, including a No. 8 ranking and first place in the conference this season. The edge pass rusher has 51 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and three interceptions. He led the conference with 16 tackles for loss last season.

Nick Dzubnar, LB, Cal Poly, Sr., 6-2, 250, Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Fresh off a 19-tackle, one-interception performance against Sacramento State, Dzubnar leads the FCS in tackles per game (14.6). With 102 stops, he is over 100 tackles for the third straight season. In playing with a tenacious sideline-to-sideline style, Dzubnar also has six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

Darnell Sankey, LB, Sacramento State, Jr., 6-2, 250, San Jose, California

Sankey ranks third in the FCS with 12.4 tackles per game. He tied the school record with 21 tackles against Montana State on Oct. 4. A fast, athletic linebacker who originally was a defensive end, Sankey has eight tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles.

Other players on the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List are nose guard O.J. Mau of Gardner-Webb; defensive tackle Troy Moore of Sacred Heart; defensive ends James Cowser of Southern Utah, Kyle Emanuel of North Dakota State, Zach Hodges of Harvard, Mike Reilly of William & Mary, Davis Tull of Chattanooga, Zack Wagenmann of Montana and Jonathan Woodard of Central Arkansas; linebackers Quinn Backus of Coastal Carolina, Tony Bell of UT Martin, Lynden Trail of Norfolk State and Connor Underwood of Indiana State; cornerback Tye Smith of Towson; and safeties Daniel Fitzpatrick of Tennessee State, Jacob Hagen of Liberty, Colten Heagle of North Dakota State, Caleb Schaffitzel of Missouri State and Jaquiski Tartt of Samford.

The breakdown of previous Buck Buchanan Award winners is nine linebackers, eight defensive ends, one defensive tackle and one free safety.

The Buck Buchanan Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2014 season. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season.

The Sports Network also presents the Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards. The Payton Award honors the outstanding player in the FCS, the Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award is bestowed upon the FCS coach of the year.

The 2014 FCS Awards package can be found here.


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