PHILADELPHIA -- Harvard senior defensive end Zach Hodges, the reigning Asa S. Bushnell Cup recipient as the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, was named to the first Watch Lists for the 2014 Buck Buchanan and Butkus Awards.
Presented by The Sports Network, the Buck Buchanan Award honors the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Defensive Player of the Year. Butkus Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, took stewardship of the award to fully realize the original purpose of honoring athletic achievement and service to the community while honoring the nation's best high school, college, and professional linebackers.
Hodges was the lone FCS player on the initial 51-player Butkus Award Watch List. An independent Butkus Award Selection Committee, headed by Pro Football Weekly's Hub Arkush and comprised of 51 experts including professional, college and high school scouts, and prominent sports journalists, will conduct the selection process.
As a junior, the Atlanta native tied for the Ivy League lead with 6.5 sacks and was second in the conference with 11.5 tackles for a loss en route to a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy first team.
Hodges finished 16th in the Buchanan Award voting a year ago,
was one of five finalists from last year listed among the
candidates under consideration this year. The other four nominees
who were finalists last season were a quartet of seniors: Coastal
Carolina linebacker Quinn Backus (7th), Norfolk
State linebacker Lynden Trail (8th), Chattanooga
defensive end Davis Tull (13th) and Missouri State
safety Caleb Schaffitzel (15th).
Also nominated to the Buchanan Award Watch List were defensive tackles O.J. Mau of Gardner-Webb and Troy Moore of Sacred Heart, defensive ends Mike Reilly of William & Mary and Jonathan Woodard of Central Arkansas, linebackers Tony Bell of Tennessee-Martin and Stephen Hodge of Fordham, cornerbacks Harlan Miller of Southeastern Louisiana and Tye Smith of Towson, and safeties Daniel Fitzpatrick of Tennessee State, Jacob Hagen of Liberty, Colten Heagle of three-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State and Jaquiski Tartt of Samford. Each is a senior except Mau, Miller and Woodard, who are juniors.
Past recipients include two-time winner Dexter Coakley, Jared Allen, Rashean Mathis, Kroy Biermann and Montana State's back-to-back winners Caleb Schreibeis in 2012 and Brad Daly last season.
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 20th Buck Buchanan Award, along with the Walter Payton (FCS Player of the Year), Jerry Rice (FCS Freshman of the Year) and Eddie Robinson (FCS Coach of the Year) awards will be presented at The Sports Network National Awards Banquet on Monday, Dec. 15.
Semifinalists for the 30th annual
Collegiate Butkus Award will be named Monday, Oct. 27, finalists
will be named on Monday, Nov. 24, and winners will be notified on
or before Tuesday, Dec. 9.