PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – University of New Hampshire senior co-captain Brian McNally (Cornwall, N.Y.) and junior linebacker Matt Evans (Hanover, Mass.) have each been named to the Watch List for the 2011 Buck Buchanan Award, sponsored by Fathead.com. The 20-person preseason list for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) most outstanding defensive player was announced Monday by The Sports Network.
McNally is coming off one of the greatest seasons ever compiled by a New Hampshire defensive player. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound defensive end was named a College Sporting News Sweet-63 All-America, an ECAC All-Star, FCS All-New England and All-CAA First Team in 2010 after establishing the University's all-time single-season record with a CAA-leading 13.5 sacks. McNally paced the 'Cats with 15 tackles for loss and made 42 tackles overall, highlighted by a career-high 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in an NCAA second-round playoff win at Bethune-Cookman.
Evans, who finished fourth in the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award voting as the only sophomore on the ballot, ranked second in FCS football with 156 tackles, which was the second-highest single-season total in UNH history. The 6-foot, 233-pound middle linebacker's 79 solo stops ranked third nationally, and his 12.0 tackles per game placed him fifth in the FCS. Evans was the Wildcats' leader in tackles in nine of their 13 games, notched double-digit tackles 11 times and set a career high with 20 stops Nov. 6 versus William & Mary. Overall, Evans posted four sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, including a 25-yard pick-six against Towson (Nov. 20), three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, highlighted by a 17-yard touchdown return at James Madison (Oct. 16). He was feted as a College Sporting News Sweet-63 All-America, a Walter Camp FCS All-America, A.P. All-America Second Team and All-CAA Second Team.
The Buchanan Award is in its 17th season and will be presented to the FCS' outstanding defensive player at the national awards banquet Thursday night, Jan. 5, in Frisco, Texas. The Buchanan Award Watch List will undergo revision during the 2011 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 200 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries after the regular season concludes Nov. 21.
UNH season tickets and individual game tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.