University of Montana linebacker Patrick O'Connell was one of 11 players added to the 2021 Stats Perform Buck Buchanan Award watch list on Wednesday. The award is given annually to the top defensive player in the NCAA FCS.
O'Connell, a Kalispell Glacier graduate, leads the Big Sky Conference and is tied for fourth in the FCS in total sacks with 10.5 on the season. He's also third in the league in tackles for loss with 16.5 and top-10 for total tackles with 77.
The original preseason watch list had 35 players, including Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen and Montana linebacker Jace Lewis.
A 50-member, national media panel will select the winner following the regular season.
Also this season, Stats Perform will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Those recently nominated to the watch list can be found below:
Brevin Allen, Campbell
Nate Lynn, William & Mary
Devonnsha Maxwell, Chattanooga
Clay Patterson, Yale
Vaughn Taylor Jr., Morehead State
Jacob Dobbs, Holy Cross
Matthew Jackson, Eastern Kentucky
Isaiah Land, Florida A&M
Jalen Mackie, Dartmouth
Patrick O’Connell, Montana
Darius Joiner, Western Illinois