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J.C. Sherritt collects Buck Buchanan Award
Eastern Washington linebacker honored as most outstanding defensive player in FCS college football
The voting was tight, but on Thursday night, Sherritt was named the 2010 winner of the defensive player of the year award in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com sponsors the 16th annual Buchanan Award.
Sherritt, second last year to James Madison defensive end Arthur Moats (now a linebacker with the Buffalo Bills), captured 24 of the 130 first-place votes and 253 points. Wofford junior defensive end Ameet Pall and Western Illinois senior linebacker Kyle Glazier tied for second place with 234 points.
New Hampshire sophomore linebacker Matt Evans (203) and Massachusetts junior linebacker Tyler Holmes (189) rounded out the top five.
The 5-foot-10, 220-pound Sherritt finished the regular season ranked 10th in the FCS with 11.36 tackles per game. He had at least 10 tackles in nine straight games, totaled 10 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks, intercepted three passes, broke up four, forced two fumbles, recovered one and had two quarterback hurries.
Behind its captain, Eastern Washington was co-champion of the Big Sky Conference and advanced to the FCS playoffs for a second straight year, and the Eagles went on to beat Delaware in the FCS Championship game. The Eagles, who gained national attention for introducing a new red turf at their home stadium, went 9-2 during the regular season and 13-2 overall.
"It's been an awesome year," said the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Sherritt, who plays strong-side inside linebacker.
"If I get in the 40, I'm not the fastest guy. And I can't jump the highest. On a football field, I can usually react pretty well to the ball and get to the ball pretty quickly. I don't know if it's something you're born with. I know my coaches help me a lot with my reads. To have a great front four in front of you really helps."
The Buchanan Award was voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.
Joining Sherritt, Pall, Glazier, Evans and Holmes as Buchanan Award finalists were defensive tackles Kenrick Ellis of Hampton and Martin Parker of Richmond; nose tackle Brent Russell of Georgia Southern; defensive ends Jabari Fletcher of Appalachian State and Mario Kurn of San Diego; linebackers Eric McBride of Richmond, Bryce Smith of Samford, D.J. Smith of Appalachian State, Antoine Wilkinson of Missouri State and Jabara Williams of Stephen F. Austin; cornerbacks Korey Lindsey of Southern Illinois and Trumaine Johnson of Montana; and safeties Mark LeGree of Appalachian State, Eugene Clifford of Tennessee State and James Vercammen of Dayton. The ballot had two players who gained write-in votes, UT Martin linebacker Josh Bey and South Carolina State linebacker David Erby.
In addition to the Buck Buchanan Award, The Sports Network presents and Fathead.com sponsors the Walter Payton Award, bestowed on the FCS' outstanding player, and the Eddie Robinson Award, which honors the FCS' coach of the year.