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Whitehead among final candidates on Buchanan watch list
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Norfolk State free safety Terrell Whitehead is among the four most recent candidates added to the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually to the top defensive player in FCS.
Whitehead, also a member of the 2008 Buchanan Award preseason watch list, is a two-time Sports Network All-American. The playmaking secondary man has 13 career interceptions and 179 career tackles to his credit.
Other players added to the list were Stephen F. Austin linebacker Jabara Williams, Gardner-Webb linebacker Jeffery Williams and Penn cornerback Chris Wynn.
The four new candidates were added to a list that already includes Central Arkansas defensive end Larry Hart, defensive end Christian Anthony of Grambling, defensive end Danny Batten of South Dakota State, strong safety Tommy Connors of Southeastern Louisiana, defensive end Dane Fletcher of Montana State, Delaware free safety Charles Graves, Southern Illinois linebacker Brandin Jordan, Murray State defensive end Austen Lane, Appalachian State free safety Mark LeGree, Massachusetts strong safety Jeromy Miles, Weber State cornerback Josh Morris, Villanova linebacker Osayi Osunde, Richmond cornerback Justin Rogers, Northern Iowa defensive end James Ruffin, Youngstown State defensive tackle Mychal Savage and William & Mary defensive end Adrian Tracy.
A total of 20 candidates have been announced, four at a time, in alphabetical order, over the past five weeks. The watch list will be revised in October and again in November, before the final ballot is announced.
Voting from a panel of FCS sports information directors, writers, broadcasters and other football experts will be conducted after the regular season ends. Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 30 and will be invited to the 23rd annual Sports Network Awards banquet on Dec. 17 in Chattanooga, TN., the night before the NCAA Division I championship game. The Walter Payton Award and the Eddie Robinson Award will also be presented that night.
Here are biographies of the four newly-named players to the Buchanan watch list:
Jabara Williams, Stephen F. Austin, Junior, 6-3, 225, Linebacker, Garrison, TX
Williams had a breakout season for the Lumberjacks in 2008, leading the Southland Conference and ranking ninth nationally with 132 tackles en route to a spot the All-Southland Conference first-team. Williams tallied 17 or more tackles four times in 2008, including a career-high 21 tackles in the season finale against Northwestern State. Williams also forced two fumbles and picked off three passes, two against South Dakota State. In 2007, he split time between linebacker (seven starts) and running back (three starts), picking up 58 tackles on defense and 230 yards with one TD rushing offensively. Williams has 190 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, 3.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss and two blocked kicks in his SFA career.
Jeffery Williams, Gardner-Webb, Sophomore, 6-0, 221, Linebacker, Frisco City, AL
Williams picked up the slack when Buchanan Award candidate Mario Brown went down with an injury last season, earning Big South Conference defensive player of the year honors for his contributions. He recorded 119 tackles to lead the league, with nine tackles for loss and three interceptions (tied for second in the Big South). He helped Gardner-Webb hold opponents to under 100 yards rushing a record seven straight games. In a 47-21 over Presbyterian, Williams had 18 tackles and a pair of interceptions. In 2007, the Big South freshman of the year picked up 120 stops, 8.5 tackles for loss and six pass breakups to establish himself as a major performer. In his first career game, Williams posted 10 stops against Ohio University. For his career, Williams has 239 tackles, 17.5 for loss, 11 pass breakups, three interceptions and 11 games with 10 or more tackles.
Chris Wynn, Penn, Senior, 5-9, 185, Cornerback, Flemington, NJ
Wynn has established himself as one of the top cover men in the country over the past two seasons, and earned Sports Network third-team All-American honors last season. He has been a key element in a Quaker defense that has been among the best in the country the past two years, earning All-Ivy League first-team recognition for teams that ranked 17th nationally in 2007 and fourth in 2008. Despite seldom being tested, Wynn intercepted five passes in both 2007 and 2008, in 10-game seasons. He also broke up 20 passes over the past two years. Two of his interceptions came in Penn’s 2008 season opener against CAA powerhouse Villanova. Wynn added 40 tackles last season, two tackles for loss and one blocked kick. In addition to his defensive exploits, he is also one of the most dangerous return men in FCS, with a 25.1 career average with two touchdowns as a kickoff returner and nine yards per return on punts, including a 10.6 average last season. The Flemington, NJ native has 10 interceptions, 89 tackles and 21 pass deflections in his first three seasons at Penn.
Terrell Whitehead, Norfolk State, Senior, 6-2, 200, Free Safety, Virginia Beach, VA
Whitehead, an impact player since his freshman season at Norfolk State, picked off four passes in 2008 to earn third-team Sports Network All-American status, and first team all-MEAC honors for the second straight season. He tallied 83 tackles and 11 pass breakups (tied for 12th nationally), including 15 tackles and two pass breakups in a sensational outing against Florida A&M. In 2007, Whitehead picked off six passes to help fuel the Spartans’ run towards an FCS playoff berth, which came up just short. As a freshman, he played in nine games after sitting out the first two, intercepting three passes and racing up 31 tackles. For his career, Whitehead has 13 interceptions, 17 pass breakups, 179 tackles, three forced fumbles, a blocked kick and a quarterback hurry.
David Coulson, Sports Network