Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If there is a common theme to linebackers
Robert McCabe of Georgetown and Jordan Tripp of Montana and safety Cooper
Taylor of Richmond, it's that they make their teammates better.
Whether they are being vocal or leading by example, they lift their teams to a
higher level of play.
Their early season excellence has led to McCabe, Tripp and Taylor joining the
Buck Buchanan Award Watch List on Wednesday for the 18th annual award which
honors the outstanding defensive player in the Football Championship
This season's winner will join a list of Buchanan Award greats such as Dexter
Coakley, Jared Allen, Rashean Mathis, Kroy Biermann and the 2011 recipient, New
Hampshire linebacker Matt Evans, who is trying to win for the second season in
McCabe, a 6-foot-2, 234-pound senior, ended September with an FCS-best 13.6
tackles per game, including double-digits in all five Georgetown games. The
Patriot League's preseason defensive player of the year has 316 career tackles
and is on pace to set the school record for a career. He had a career-
high 17 tackles, with three for loss, to open the season against Davidson.
Tripp, a 6-3 1/2, 244-pound junior, is a third-generation Montana player and a
Grizzlies linebacker like his father Bryan. Following a 2011 season which was
cut short by a shoulder injury, Tripp has come back strong, averaging 10.2
tackles per game, including 5 1/2 for loss and two sacks.
Taylor, a 6-5, 235-pound senior, is the biggest of the three players despite
being a safety. Richmond's second-year transfer from Georgia Tech punishes ball
carriers with his size, but has the speed to fly around in the secondary. After
missing the Spiders' season-opening game, Taylor has intercepted three passes
in the last four games, scoring a touchdown on one return, while adding four
pass breakups and 27 tackles.
Other nominees on the Watch List are nose tackle Brent Russell of Georgia
Southern; defensive ends Willie Jefferson of Stephen F. Austin, Joseph LeBeau
of Jackson State and Ben Obaseki of Indiana State; linebackers Evans, Clarence
Bumpas of Northern Colorado, Wes Dothard of Chattanooga, Jeremy Kimbrough of
Appalachian State, Blake Peiffer of Southeast Missouri State, Keith Pough of
Howard, Derek Rose of Northwestern State and Tyler Starr of South Dakota;
cornerbacks Demetrius McCray of Appalachian State, B.W. Webb of William & Mary
and Marcus Williams of FCS champion North Dakota State; and safeties Kejuan
Riley of Alabama State and Darnell Taylor of Sam Houston State.
Bios of all 20 players can be found on the FCS Awards page at
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 on Nov. 19.
The Sports Network also presents the Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Eddie
Robinson awards. The Payton Award honors the outstanding player in the FCS, the
Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award honors
the FCS coach of the year.
All four awards will be presented on Dec. 17 at the FCS Awards Banquet and
Presentation in Philadelphia.
The Sports Network