PHILADELPHIA — The Sports Network has named Georgia Southern’s Brent Russell to its list of 20 preseason nominees for the Buck Buchanan Award.
Russell has been a finalist for the top FCS defensive honor the past two seasons after helping the Eagles to a pair of semifinal playoff appearances. The Comer, Ga., native finished 12th in the voting in 2010 and sixth in 2011.
The 2011 Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Russell finished the season first on the squad in tackles for loss (16.5) and sacks (6.5).
Russell is a two-year All-American and was named to five All-America lists after helping lead GSU to their ninth Southern Conference Championship. Known by fans as “Manbearpig,” Russell is also considered by many as a solid NFL prospect who could be drafted in the middle rounds.
The 2011 winner, Matt Evans of New Hampshire, returns for his senior season with the Wildcats. Evans led the FCS in tackles in the regular season and averaged more than 13 a game.