PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- They say good things come to those who wait.
For Southeastern Louisiana cornerback Robert Alford, James Madison linebacker Stephon Robertson and defensive ends Caleb Schreibeis of Montana State and Brandon Thurmond of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, it's been constant leadership and a willingness to improve which have made their teams better.
Their ability to develop individually, while impacting teammates, has led to Alford, Robertson, Schreibeis and Thurmond joining the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List on Wednesday in the race for the 18th annual award which honors the outstanding defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
This season's winner will join a list of Buchanan Award greats such as Dexter Coakley, Jared Allen, Rashean Mathis and the 2011 recipient, New Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans, who is a nominee again trying to win for the second season in a row.
Alford, a 6-foot, 185-pound senior, might be one of the FCS' best lock-down cornerbacks. He has totaled 37 tackles, five tackles for loss, four interceptions and seven pass breakups. Alford also handles punt return duty for the Lions and has seven returns for 99 yards and one touchdown.
Robertson, a 5-11, 225-pound junior, has been a consistent force throughout his career, garnering All-America third-team and All-CAA first-team honors in the preseason. The defined leader of the Dukes' defense has recorded a team-high 92 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and five pass breakups in 10 games this season.
Schreibeis, a 6-3, 252-pound senior, stepped up nicely for an injury-laden Montana State defense earlier this season. In nine games, he ranks fifth on his team in tackles with 35 and is first in tackles for loss (13), sacks (11), quarterback hurries (seven) and forced fumbles (seven, also an FCS high).
Thurmond, a 6-2, 260-pound senior, has flipped the switch in his final season at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, turning into one of the FCS' most productive and dangerous pass rushers. In 10 games, he's improved in every category, with 56 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, and seven quarterback hurries. He also has three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.
Other nominees on the Watch List are nose tackle Brent Russell of Georgia Southern; defensive ends Joseph LeBeau of Jackson State and Colton Underwood of Illinois State; linebackers Evans, Wes Dothard of Chattanooga, Jeremy Kimbrough of Appalachian State, Robert McCabe of Georgetown, Blake Peiffer of Southeast Missouri State, Tyler Starr of South Dakota and Jordan Tripp of Montana; cornerbacks Demetrius McCray of Appalachian State, B.W. Webb of William & Mary and Marcus Williams of 2011 FCS champion North Dakota State; and safeties Jaquiski Tartt of Samford, Cooper Taylor of Richmond and Darnell Taylor of Sam Houston State.
Bios of all 20 players can be found on the FCS Awards page at http://tinyurl.com/yhv6oh8.
The Buchanan Award will be voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The winner will be announced on Dec. 17 at the FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation in Philadelphia.
About The Sports Network
The Sports Network (www.sportsnetwork.com), North America's foremost international real-time sports wire service, furnishes a wide range of content on a 24/7 basis utilizing state-of-the-art technology which sets the tone and standard for the entire industry. From statistics to news, weather and injury reports to instant scores, branded product and gamecasts to photography and complete fantasy coverage data, domestic or world-wide, radio or TV, print or Internet, mobile to signage, TSN leads the way.
SOURCE The Sports Network