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Montana Grizzlies' Dante Olson named Buck Buchanan Award finalist

Accepts invite to East-West Shrine Bowl
Posted: 6:22 PM, Nov 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-25 20:22:22-05
14. dante olson.jpg

(Editor's note: University of Montana athletics release)

MISSOULA -- Montana linebacker Dante Olson officially became a finalist for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, STATS announced Monday.

The senior also recently accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Bowl, one of the premier postseason All-Star games.

The honors come after Olson completed the regular season with the most tackles (151) in the Big Sky Conference and FCS football for a second-straight year. He posted eight games this season with a double-digit tackle total, including a season-high 18 stops against both ISU and MSU and a game-high 14 tackles (10 solo) against FBS Oregon. He currently leads the Griz in tackles for loss (9.5) and has also posted 2.5 sacks, one interception, one pass breakup, two quarterback hurries, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

In only two years as a starter, Olson has racked up 302 total tackles 23 games, an average of 13.1 stops per contest in his illustrious career.

Not only is he one of the most dominant players in the country, he was named an NFF National Scholar-Athlete and finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, and also named the AFCA Good Works Team for his community service involvement.

Olson, who began the season on the Buchanan Award Watch List and finished the 2018 season as one of the top three vote-getters, is one of 26 finalists for the award that honors the National Defensive Player of the Year, and one of only three players from the Big Sky Conference to earn a place on the list.

He is now the thirteenth Grizzly to become a finalist for the Buchanan Award and is only the fourth Grizzly to be named a finalist twice in his career. Former UM linebacker Jordan Tripp was a two-time finalist in 2012-13, cornerback Trumaine Johnson was a two-time finalist in 2010-11, and Kroy Biermann was a two-time finalist in '06-'07 and won the award his senior season.

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the winners. Voting is based on the regular season and will conclude on Monday, Dec. 2.

All four STATS legacy awards and the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be celebrated at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet and Presentation, scheduled for Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas, on the eve of the national championship game.

Olson will also go compete alongside the nation's best at the 95th Annual East-West Shrine Bowl – the longest-running college football all-star game in the nation - set for Jan. 18, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

In following with Olson's history of community service, the East-West Shrine Bowl has benefited Shriners Hospitals for Children and its mission to provide advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families' ability to pay for services.

Players and coaches visit a local Shriners Hospitals for Children during game week to meet the patients and gain a greater understanding of the importance of the game, according to the Bowl's website.

Olson is now the twelfth Grizzly in program history to earn a place on the Shrine Bowl roster, with Tyrone Holmes last representing the team in 2016 before going on to be selected in the NFL Draft.

Former Grizzly Finalists for Buck Buchanan Award - (D1-AA/FCS Defensive Player of the Year)
2000 – Andy Petek (Runner-up)
2001 – Vince Huntsberger (Runner-up)
2002 – Trey Young*
2006 – Kroy Biermann*
2007 – Kroy Biermann!
2010 – Trumaine Johnson*
2011 – Trumaine Johnson*
2012 – Jordan Tripp*
2013 – Jordan Tripp*
2015 – Tyrone Holmes!^
2017 – Josh Buss*
2018 – Dante Olson*
2019 – Dante Olson*

!Award Winner
* Finalist
^ STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year

Grizzlies in the East-West Shrine Bowl
1926 – William "Wild Bill" Kelly
1928 – Tom Davis
1938 – Milt Popovich
1942 – Eso Naranche
1962 – Terry Dillon
1983 – Brian Salonen
1994 – Scott Gragg
1999 – Chase Raynock
2014 – Danny Kistler Jr.
2014 – Jordan Tripp
2016 – Tyrone Holmes
2019 – Dante Olson

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2019 STATS FCS AWARDS FINALISTS

25th BUCK BUCHANAN AWARD
FCS Defensive Player of the Year - 26 Finalists
Anthony Adams, S, Portland State
Bryson Armstrong, LB, Kennesaw State
Ron'Dell Carter, DE, James Madison
Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
John Daka, DE, James Madison
Brandon Easterling, S, Dayton
Willie Eubanks Jr., LB, The Citadel
Cam Gill, LB, Wagner
Zach Hall, LB, Southeast Missouri
Kordell Jackson, DB, Austin Peay
Rico Kennedy, LB, Morgan State
Sully Laiche, DL, Nicholls
Da'Jon Lee, LB, Saint Francis
Greg Liggs Jr., CB, Elon
Eli Mencer, DE, UAlbany
Solomon Muhammad, LB, Alcorn State
Dante Olson [gogriz.com] , LB, Montana
Aaron Patrick, DL, Eastern Kentucky
Christian Rozeboom, LB, South Dakota State
Artevius Smith, DB, ETSU
Elerson Smith, DL, Northern Iowa
Bryce Sterk, LB, Montana State
Isiah Swann, DB, Dartmouth
Derrek Tuszka, DL, North Dakota State
Nick Wheeler, DL, Colgate
Keith Woetzel, LB, Lehigh

33rd WALTER PAYTON AWARD
FCS Offensive Player of the Year - 26 Finalists
Kenji Bahar, QB, Monmouth
Eric Barriere, QB, Eastern Washington
Jordan Bentley, RB, Alabama A&M
Julius Chestnut, RB, Sacred Heart
Case Cookus, QB, Northern Arizona
Zerrick Cooper, QB, Jacksonville State
Domenic Cozier, RB, Holy Cross
Tom Flacco, QB, Towson
Pete Guerriero, RB, Monmouth
Felix Harper, QB, Alcorn State
Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Jah-Maine Martin, RB, North Carolina A&T
Aaron Parker, WR, Rhode Island
Alex Ramsey, RB, VMI
Kurt Rawlings, QB, Yale
James Robinson, RB, Illinois State
Chris Rowland, WR/RS, Tennessee State
Reid Sinnett, QB, San Diego
Breylin Smith, QB, Central Arkansas
Daniel Smith, QB, Villanova
Ryan Stanley, QB, Florida A&M
Kevin Thomson, QB, Sacramento State
Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton
Aaron Winchester, QB, Central Connecticut State
Bailey Zappe, QB, Houston Baptist

9th JERRY RICE AWARD
FCS Freshman Player of the Year - 20 Finalists
John Bachus III, QB, UT Martin
Omar Brown, DB, Northern Iowa
Tyrese Chambers, WR, Sacred Heart
Ian Corwin, QB, Drake
Jacob Dobbs, LB, Holy Cross
Nick Eaton, LB, UC Davis
Tra Fluellen, DB, Houston Baptist
Ailym Ford, RB, Chattanooga
Xavier Gipson, WR, Stephen F. Austin
Tyler Hudson, WR, Central Arkansas
Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim, WR, Alabama A&M
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Jalen Leary, RB, Stetson
Jacob Roberts, LB, North Carolina A&T
Keegan Shoemaker, QB, Lafayette
Jake Stebbins, LB, Cornell
Jeff Undercuffler, QB, UAlbany
Tristan Wheeler, LB, Richmond
Hajj-Malik Williams, QB, Campbell
Javon Williams Jr., RB, Southern Illinois

33rd EDDIE ROBINSON AWARD
FCS Coach of the Year - 15 Finalists
Nathan Brown, Central Arkansas
Kevin Callahan, Monmouth
Bob Chesney, Holy Cross
Curt Cignetti, James Madison
Bernard Clark Jr., Robert Morris
Matt Entz, North Dakota State
Greg Gattuso, UAlbany
Mark Hudspeth, Austin Peay
Dale Lindsey, San Diego
Connell Maynor, Alabama A&M
Ryan McCarthy, Central Connecticut State
Buddy Pough, South Carolina State
Troy Taylor, Sacramento State
Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth
Scott Wachenheim, VMI