Montana’s Dante Olson finishes 3rd in Buck Buchanan Award voting

(Editor’s note: STATS press release)

FRISCO, TX – Southeast Missouri’s 2018 season will be remembered for the Redhawks’ turnaround and the school’s first win in the FCS playoffs.

Add having the national defensive player of the year in college football’s Division I subdivision to the grand list.

Junior linebacker Zach Hall won the 2018 STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award Friday night, emerging from a group of 25 finalists that included Sam Houston State defensive Derick Roberson, the runner-up, and Montana junior linebacker Dante Olson, the third-place finisher. The trio of first-team All-Americans were honored at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet in Frisco, Texas.

“It feels great to turn this program around, but we’re not anywhere we want to be yet,” Hall said.

“Every time I go out there I feel like I leave everything on the field, not just for myself, but for my teammates, family and simply the love of the game. I think that shows in how hard I play and how hard we work to get this team where it needs to be.”

Hall, from Louisville, posted an FCS-high 168 tackles as Southeast Missouri went 9-4 for its first winning season since 2010. The Redhawks stopped Jacksonville State’s 36-game winning streak in the Ohio Valley Conference – Hall had a game-high 15 tackles and a key blocked kick – and beat Stony Brook in the playoffs.

The 6-foot, 230-pound linebacker, named the OVC defensive player of the year, contributed six takeaways – four interceptions and two fumble recoveries – and forced four fumbles. He reached double figures in tackles in 10 of 13 games, including a career-high 22 tackles against FBS member Arkansas State – the most by an OVC player in 10 years.

Roberson, who made the Southland Conference first team, tied Sam Houston’s single-season record with 15 sacks, ranking second in the FCS with an average of 1.36 per game, and had 20.5 tackles for loss. His five forced fumbles also are tied for the second-most nationally.

Olson recorded the FCS single-game high with 24 tackles as part of his school-record 151 overall stops. The All-Big Sky Conference first-teamer’s 13.7 tackles per game rank No. 1 nationally.

Following the regular season, a national panel of 153 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the Buck Buchanan Award, named for the Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer and presented since 1995. Past recipients include Dexter Coakley, Rashean Mathis, Jared Allen, Arthur Moats and Kyle Emanuel.

2018 STATS FCS BUCK BUCHANAN AWARD VOTING

(FCS Defensive Player of the Year)

1. Zach Hall, LB, Southeast Missouri: 28-31-19-13-7-354

2. Derick Roberson, LB, Sam Houston State: 23-11-16-13-8-241

3. Dante Olson, LB, Montana: 21-10-13-13-15-225

4. Jabril Cox, LB, North Dakota State: 22-13-10-9-12-222

5. Isiah Swann, CB, Dartmouth: 5-22-17-10-18-202

6. Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison: 13-16-11-14-10-200

7. B.J. Blunt, LB, McNeese: 12-4-15-13-17-164

8. Nick Wheeler, LB, Colgate: 9-5-11-8-12-126

9. Robbie Grimsley, S, North Dakota State: 7-8-5-10-11-113

10. Anthony Gore Jr., LB, Kennesaw State: 2-5-5-6-4-61

11. Darryl Johnson Jr., DE, North Carolina A&T: 1-4-4-6-4-49

12. Mason Moe, LB, UC Davis: 2-4-0-8-2-44

13. (Tie) Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois: 1-5-3-3-2-42

13. (Tie) Sterling Sheffield, LB, Maine: 1-1-6-5-5-42

15. Troy Reeder, LB, Delaware: 1-3-3-4-2-36

16. Cam Gill, LB, Wagner: 1-1-5-3-3-33

17. Isaiah Mack, DT, Chattanooga: 2-1-1-6-3-32

18. Will Warner, S, Drake: 1-0-2-3-5-22

19. Thomas Costigan, LB, Bryant: 1-2-1-0-3-19

20. (Tie) Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware: 0-1-2-1-3-15

20. (Tie) Darin Greenfield, DE, South Dakota: 0-2-1-2-0-15

22. Ahmad Gooden, DE, Samford: 0-1-2-0-4-14

23. De’Arius Christmas, LB, Grambling State: 0-1-1-2-1-12

24. (Tie) Nick Miller, LB, Penn: 0-1-0-0-2-6

25. (Tie) Nasir Player, DL, ETSU: 0-1-0-1-0-6

A first-place vote was worth five points, a second-place vote four points, a third-place vote three points, a fourth-place vote two points and a fifth-place vote one point.

Derek Buerkle

Derek Buerkle

Derek has worked in sports at KPAX-TV in Missoula since 2007. He grew up in Big Timber, Montana, and attended the University of Montana journalism program.
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