CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern's Anthony Ellis was named to the 2017 STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award Watch List as announced on Friday afternoon.
Ellis was named the 2017 Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season at the Big South Football Media Day Football Luncheon in mid-July and adds to his preseason accolades. The Apopka, Fla. native was tabbed a 2017 Preseason All-American by Athlon's and STATS, after earning All-America recognition from STATS, the Association Press and HERO Sports last season.
Ellis finished 21st in the voting last season for the Buck Buchanan award after leading the Big South with 16.0 tackles-for-loss and 7.0 sacks -- the second player in Big South history to record two seven-sack seasons. He tallied 45 tackles (26 solo) with eight quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. A dominant edge rusher who often commands double teams, Ellis recorded a tackle-for-loss in all but one game and had four multi-tackle for loss efforts, including 3.5 in the Buccaneers' win at No. 24/25 Liberty on Nov. 12. He recorded a sack in six of 10 appearances last season, including four in a three-game span.
The Big South Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Flames, Ellis shined in league play as he totaled a league-best 9.5 tackles for loss in five games (1.90 per game), and tied for the top spot with four sacks (one each against Monmouth, Presbyterian, Gardner-Webb, and Liberty). He also had 24 stops against Big South foes, 15 of which were solo.
Ellis, who enters his final season tied for sixth all-time in Big South history in both tackles for loss (35.5) and career sacks (15.0), is looking to become just the third player in the conference record book with 40 tackles-for-loss and 20 sacks.
Sam Houston State senior defensive end P.J. Hall, the runner-up for FCS defensive player of the year honors last season, headlines the list of 21 players. Eight other returning finalists return to the watch list.
The Buchanan Award, first awarded in 1995, has sent past winners such as Dexter Coakley, Rashean Mathis, Jared Allen, Arthur Moats and Kyle Emanuel on to the NFL. Northern Iowa defensive end Karter Schult was the 2016 recipient.
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.
Jacksonville State senior defensive end Darius Jackson, the Ohio Valley Conference defensive player of the year, wasn't far behind in the voting, finishing fourth. Western Illinois linebacker Brett Taylor (seventh), South Carolina State linebacker Darius Leonard (10th), Houston Baptist linebacker Garrett Dolan (11th), Colgate defensive end Pat Afriyie (13th), North Dakota strong safety Cole Reyes (14th), Charleston Southern defensive end Anthony Ellis (21st) and Monmouth strong safety Mike Basile (24th) also were finalists.
Also nominated to the watch list were defensive ends Keontre Anderson of Jackson State, Andrew Ankrah of James Madison, Kurt Holuba of Princeton, Greg Menard of North Dakota State and Ebenezer Ogundeko of Tennessee State; linebackers Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State and Christian Rozeboom of South Dakota State; cornerbacks Davontae Harris of Illinois State and Tremon Smith of Central Arkansas; safeties Marlon Bridges of Jacksonville State, Rob Rolle of Villanova and Kailik Williams of The Citadel.
The breakdown of the watch list by position: nine defensive ends, five linebackers, five safeties and two cornerbacks. The Missouri Valley Football Conference had the most nominees with five, while the Ohio Valley Conference and Southland Conference had three each.
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. STATS will hold its national awards banquet the night of Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas, on the eve of the FCS national championship game.