Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Montana State defensive end Brad Daly knows exactly what the play of a Buck Buchanan Award winner looks like. In his junior season last year, he was a teammate with the eventual FCS defensive player of the year recipient.
Daly, now a senior, lined up opposite Caleb Schreibeis on the Bobcats' defensive line. A year later, Daly has his named added to the Buchanan Award Watch List.
Joining Daly on the Buchanan Award Watch List Tuesday was Coastal Carolina junior linebacker Quinn Backus. Both have played integral roles on their respective teams and were added to the list of candidates for the 19th annual award, presented by The Sports Network.
This year's winner will join Schreibeis and other Buchanan Award recipients such as Arthur Moats, Kroy Biermann, Jared Allen, Rashean Mathis and Dexter Coakley.
Daly leads the nation in both tackles for loss (12) and sacks (nine) through five weeks of the season, and owns a 13-game streak of recording at least one tackle for loss. He's shown his versatility by recording two pass breakups, five quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Daly is undersized by defensive line standards, but is part of the developing mold of extremely athletic, quick players at defensive end. The senior uses his raw explosion off the line to gain favorable position against offensive linemen and his speed to track down running backs and quarterbacks.
Backus, a 5-10, 215-pound linebacker, is the definition of a ball hawk. His 45 total tackles, including 27 solo, exemplify his ability to get through opponents and straight to whomever is holding the ball. And with two pass breakups and one interception, he shows a unique ability to drop back into pass coverage and man up with opposing receivers and tight ends.
Backus is certainly capable of disrupting the opponent's backfield, too. He has two tackles for loss and one sack.
His size at linebacker can be seen as a disadvantage, but Backus is showing all doubters he can play with the best of competitors. He's led Coastal Carolina to a 5-0 start this season, including a big performance against Furman with 15 tackles (one for a loss) and an interception.
Other nominees on the Buchanan Award Watch List are: defensive linemen Antoine Lewis of Villanova, Caraun Reid of Princeton, Robert Simpson of Mississippi Valley State, Davis Tull of Chattanooga and Colton Underwood of Illinois State; linebackers Clarence Bumpus of Northern Colorado, Wes Dothard of Chattanooga, Ronnie Hamlin of Eastern Washington, Grant Olson of North Dakota State, Stephon Robertson of James Madison, Alvin Scioneaux of Wofford, Tyler Starr of South Dakota and Jordan Tripp of Montana; defensive backs Stephen Godbolt III of Tennessee State, Jestin Love of Central Arkansas, Caleb Schaffitzel of Missouri State, Jaquiski Tartt of Samford and Marcus Williams of North Dakota State.
Bios of all 20 players can be found at http://tinyurl.com/yhv6oh8.
Other players considered for the Watch List: Jackson State cornerback Qua Cox; Duquesne linebacker Dorian Bell; Northern Iowa linebacker Jake Farley; Montana defensive end Zack Wagenmann; South Carolina State linebacker Joe Thomas; Harvard defensive end Zach Hodges; and Arkansas-Pine Bluff linebacker Jer-ryan Harris.
The Buchanan Award Watch List can undergo revision during the season. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The winner will be invited to The Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation Dec. 16 in Philadelphia.
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. The top three vote-getters for the Payton Award as well as the winners of Rice and Robinson awards also will be invited to the national banquet.