PHILADELPHIA — University of Montana linebacker Jordan Tripp has been named to the 2013 Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, The Sports Network announced Thursday.
Tripp is one of 20 named to the 2013 Watch List, and he’s one of seven returning finalists for the 19th annual award this year, which is presented by The Sports Network to the outstanding defensive player in the FCS following the regular season. Tripp finished 10th in the balloting last year.
“It’s obviously nice to be named to that list,” said Tripp, who will UM’s player representative at the upcoming (July 14-16) Big Sky Football Kickoff event in Park City, Utah. “I’ve always been taught to control what you can control, and I feel like that’s great to be recognized, but at this point I just want to play the best I can and help my team to win on Saturdays.
“Coming in as a freshman and weighing 185 pounds and just playing special teams that first year was a huge learning experience,” Tripp said. “Guys like (former UM linebackers) Shawn Lebsock and Caleb McSurdy kind of laid down the groundwork and showed me how it was done at the University of Montana. I had a great position coach in Ty Gregorak, who is now our defensive coordinator. He really taught me a lot.
“I feel very fortunate to be named with a group like that and it’s a great honor, but at the end of the day we always want to win games, but it is special to be on that list,” he said.
Tripp, who will be starting for the fourth season in a row this year is a 6-3 ½, 237-pound senior from Missoula. Last season he was second on the team with 95 tackles and had a team-high 13.5 stops for loss. He was named to several All-America teams, and was a first team All-Big Sky pick. This season he will serve as UM’s co-captain (along with senior linebacker Brock Coyle) on defense.
“Jordan is a young man who is the epitome of what college football is all about,” said UM Head Coach Mick Delaney. “He does all of the right things on and off the field. He’s an outstanding football player, and more importantly he’s an outstanding person.
“That is just a great tribute to him to be named to that list two years in a row to that prestigious watch list for the Buchanan Award,” Delaney said. “I know he’s going to perform and have a great season, and we will see what happens down the road.”
Two-time defending national champion North Dakota State has two of the 20 nominees on the list — senior cornerback Marcus Williams and senior linebacker Grant Olson. Also returning to the Watch List are linebackers Wes Dothard of Chattanooga, Stephon Robertson of James Madison, and Tyler Starr of South Dakota; Illinois State defensive end Colton Underwood; and Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt. Dothard was a 2011 finalist as well.
In addition to Olson, the newcomers to the Watch List are linebackers Dorian Bell of Duquesne, Clarence Bumpas of Northern Colorado, Ronnie Hamlin of Eastern Washington and Alvin Scioneaux of Wofford; defensive linemen Antoine Lewis of Villanova, Caraun Reid of Princeton, Robert Simpson of Mississippi Valley State and Davis Tull of Chattanooga; cornerbacks Qua Cox of Jackson State and Steven Godbolt of Tennessee State; and safeties Jestin Love of Central Arkansas and Caleb Schaffitzel of Missouri State.
Williams and Olson play on a North Dakota State defense that ranked No. 1 in scoring defense and total defense last season while the Bison captured their second straight national championship. Underwood, who had 95 tackles with 19.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks as Illinois State reached the FCS quarterfinals last season, finished sixth in the 2012 voting – highest among the returnees.
The Buchanan Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2013 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 175 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 on Dec. 16.
Past Buchanan Award recipients include two-time winner Dexter Coakley, Montana’s Kroy Biermann, Jared Allen, Rashean Mathis, and Montana State defensive end Caleb Schreibeis who won the award last season.
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
— UM Sports Information
2013 Buck Buchanan Award Watch List
Dorian Bell, Duquesne, LB, Sr.
Clarence Bumpas, Northern Colorado, LB, Sr.
Qua Cox, Jackson State, CB, Sr.
Wes Dothard, Chattanooga, LB, Sr.
Steven Godbolt III, Tennessee State, CB, Jr.
Ronnie Hamlin, Eastern Washington, LB, Jr.
Antoine Lewis, Villanova, DT, Sr.
Jestin Love, Central Arkansas, S, Sr.
Grant Olson, North Dakota State, LB, Sr.
Caraun Reid, Princeton, DT, Sr.
Stephon Robertson, James Madison, LB, Sr.
Caleb Schaffitzel, Missouri State, S, Jr.
Alvin Scioneaux, Wofford, LB, Sr.
Robert Simpson, Mississippi Valley State, DT, Sr.
Tyler Starr, South Dakota, LB, Sr.
Jaquiski Tartt, Samford, S, Jr.
Jordan Tripp, Montana, LB, Sr.
Davis Tull, Chattanooga, DE, Jr.
Colton Underwood, Illinois State, DE, Jr.
Marcus Williams, North Dakota State, CB, Sr.