FRISCO, Texas – University of New Hampshire junior linebacker Matt Evans (Hanover, Mass.) has been named the 17th Buck Buchanan Award Winner as the national defensive player of the year in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The announcement was made Thursday night, and Evans will receive the award, which is presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com, at Friday's national banquet.
Evans, who finished fourth in voting for the Buchanan Award in 2010, becomes the first player in UNH history to earn the honor, which was voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries.
The 6-foot, 227-pound MLB adds to his vast collection of hardware from the 2011 season: Walter Camp Football Foundation All-America; Phil Steele's All-America First Team; The Sports Network/Fathead.com All-America; College Sports Madness All-American; Beyond Sports College Network National Defensive Player of the Year; College Football Performance Awards Elite Linebacker Award winner; A.P. All-America Second Team; Gold Helmet Award as New England's player of the year; All-CAA First Team and All-New England Team.
Evans led the nation with 7.67 solo tackles/game and registered 165 total tackles, the second-most in the country and the second-highest, single-season total in school history. He tallied double-digit tackles in 10 of 12 games this season and in 21 of his last 25 games, including a career-high 24 tackles at then-No. 14 Lehigh on Sept. 10 and a 13-tackle, two-forced fumble performance in the Colonial Clash victory against then-No. 22 Massachusetts on Oct. 22. Evans notched three interceptions, including a 31-yard pick-six at then-No. 5 Richmond on Sept. 24 and a 58-yard pick-six in the Wildcats' NCAA Division I FCS second-round playoff loss at then-seventh-ranked Montana State on Dec. 3. Evans forced three fumbles, recovered a fumble and notched two sacks.
With 334 career tackles, Evans is ranked No. 5 in University history and will go into his senior campaign just 100 tackles shy of the school's top spot.
Evans was previously selected to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-America First Team, Phil Steele's Preseason All-American First Team, The Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason All-America First Team and College Sporting News Preseason All-America Team.
As a sophomore in 2010, Evans ranked third in FCS football with 156 tackles, which is now the third-highest, single-season total at UNH. Following the season he garnered Walter Camp FCS All-America honors, was tabbed to the College Sporting News Sweet-63 All-America team, The Sports Network/Fathead.com All-America Second Team, A.P. All-America Second Team and the All-CAA Second Team.
Evans helped the Wildcats match a school record by defeating five ranked teams en route to reaching the NCAA playoffs for the eighth consecutive season, the longest active streak in the nation. For more information on UNH football, visit www.unhwildcats.com.