RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University football player Jeremy Caldwell was one of 20 Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) players named to the initial Buck Buchanan Award watch list today. The award, which is presented by The Sports Network, is handed out annually to the nation’s top FCS defensive player.
Caldwell, a junior defensive back from Chattanooga, Tenn., led the Ohio Valley Conference and tied for fourth nationally in the FCS last year with seven interceptions. In the 2009 season opener at Indiana, Caldwell tallied two interceptions. He repeated the feat a month later at Eastern Illinois. Caldwell returned his second interception against EIU for a fourth quarter touchdown to give the Colonels a 36-24 lead.
Besides posting seven interceptions, Caldwell also led the Colonels with six pass break-ups and finished sixth on the team with 48 tackles.
Caldwell was the lone OVC player to make the initial watch list. The Buchanan Award watch list can undergo revision during the 2010 season, when updated lists are announced on Oct. 4 and 25. Ballots will be sent to a panel of approximately 200 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the conclusion of the regular season on Nov. 22.
The Buck Buchanan award is named for Junious “Buck” Buchanan, the NAIA All-American and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who played for Grambling State University from 1959 through 1962. As a freshman, Buchanan came to Grambling on an “if” scholarship, to receive financial help if he played well. After a season of playing both varsity basketball and football, Buchanan decided to concentrate solely on football. By the time he finished four years at Grambling, his coach, Eddie Robinson, asserted that Buchanan was “… the finest tackle I have ever seen.”
The Buck Buchanan Award has been handed out annually since 1995. Some of the past winners include Minnesota Vikings’ Jared Allen (Idaho State – 2003), Jacksonville Jaguars’ Rashean Mathis (Bethune-Cookman – 2002) and Dexter Coakley (Appalachian State – 1995, 1996), who played 10 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams.
No OVC player has ever won the Buck Buchanan Award.
The Buchanan Award will be presented to the FCS national defensive player of the year on Thursday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas – the night before the national championship game.