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Buck Buchanan Award

The Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the defensive player of the year in the FCS, is named for Junious "Buck" Buchanan, the NAIA All-American and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who played for Grambling State University from 1959 through 1962. The winner is chosen by a nationwide panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries from the division.

As a freshman, Buchanan came to Grambling on an "if" scholarship, to receive financial help if he played well. After a season of playing both varsity basketball and football, Buchanan decided to concentrate solely on football. By the time he finished four years at Grambling, his coach, Eddie Robinson, asserted that Buchanan was "... the finest tackle I have ever seen."

The American Football League's Dallas Texans, who would soon become the Kansas City Chiefs, agreed with Robinson. They engineered a trade with the last-place Oakland Raiders for the first pick in the AFL draft. With this pick, they bypassed Heisman Trophy winner quarterback Terry Baker of Oregon State and chose the little-known Buchanan. Buchanan elected not to wait for the NFL draft, and signed with the Texans the next day. "At the time, I was the first player from a small black school drafted in the first round," stated Buchanan. "It said a lot for the Gramblings, the Prairie Views and all the other black colleges. It was important for me to be picked in that round, at the very beginning."

Standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 287 pounds, Buchanan became the prototype for the future professional lineman. He combined size, speed and outstanding strength, along with an intense work ethic, to become one of the greatest defensive tackles of all time. Twice chosen as the Chiefs' MVP, Buchanan missed only one game due to injury in his 13-year career. Following his second pro season, Buchanan began a streak of eight straight years in which he was named to either the AFL All-Star Team or the NFL Pro Bowl. He helped lead the Chiefs to two AFL titles and was instrumental in the Chiefs' victory over the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Buchanan is a member of the NAIA, the Kansas City Chiefs and Pro Football Halls of Fame. He was selected to the NFL's All-Time Roster, indicative of his standing as one of the greatest football players of all time. Buchanan died of cancer July 16, 1992. His uniform number, 86, was retired by Kansas City in 1992.


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