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=== Troy's Al Lucas wins Buchanan Award ===
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Troy nose tackle Al Lucas was named the fifth winner of the Buck Buchanan Award today at the FCS College Football Awards ceremony held at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in New York.
Lucas, a senior, is the first player from the Southland Football League to win the Buchanan Award, which is presented annually by The Sports Network to the most outstanding defensive player in FCS college football. In 11 regular-season games in 1999, Lucas recorded 126 tackles. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound nose tackle made 20 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and also notched four sacks. He also recorded 15 quarterback hurries.
"It is an honor just to be mentioned as a finalist," said Lucas. "I give thanks to the Lord for giving me the ability to play the game. I give thanks to my parents and brother Lenny for their support, nurturing and guidance. I would also like to thank Coaches (Larry) Blakeney, (DL coach Tracy) Rocker and (Def. Coord. Wayne) Bolt for everything they did. Without all these mentioned, I could not be where I am today."
Lucas, a Macon, Georgia native, is the key person on an intimidating defensive unit. The Trojans finished the regular season with the 13th-rated defense in FCS. Troy allowed 286.0 yards per game, and was ranked 10th against the run, allowing less than 100 yards rushing per game.
Troy State finished the regular season with a 10-1 record and a number-six ranking in The Sports Network FCS Top 25 poll. The Trojans also won their second Southland title with a 6-1 league mark.
"When you watch a player learn and grow for four years, it's special whether it's the greatest football player in the history of the school, or someone who is basically on special teams or doesn't get to play but for a handful of snaps during his career," said Troy State head coach Larry Blakeney. "Al certainly ranks among the best players at Troy. He has tremendous athletic ability, but his work ethic is what made him the player that deserves this honor. Al also ranks among the best people at Troy State, which is a credit to his family. That is where a coach gets his greatest satisfaction, watching the player grow as a person. He is truly special."
Besides being a force on the defensive line, Lucas also adds a little flair to the offense. He has been used as a short-yardage running back for the past two seasons. In his career, Lucas rushed 21 times for 39 yards and seven touchdowns.
Lucas is just the fourth player to receive the Buchanan Award. Current Dallas Cowboy linebacker Dexter Coakley (Appalachian State) won the accolade in 1995 and 1996. North Carolina A&T's Chris McNeil won the award in 1997, while James Milton (Western Illinois) was last year's recipient.
Lucas received 12 first-place votes and 144 points from the panel of 75 FCS media and sports information directors. Following Lucas in the voting was: Massachusetts linebacker Kole Ayi; Tennessee State defensive end Lamar Carter; Youngstown State linebacker Ian Dominelli; and Western Illinois linebacker Edgerton Hartwell. The Buchanan Award was established in 1995 by The Sports Network.