TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Indiana State senior defensive lineman Ben Obaseki is one of 20 players nationally to be named to the 2012 Buck Buchanan Award Watch List as announced today (July 19) by The Sports Network.
The Buck Buchanan Award is awarded annually at the FCS Awards Banquet during NCAA FCS Championship weekend to the nation's top FCS defensive player. Earlier this month, Shakir Bell was named to the Walter Payton Award Watch List, which goes to the top offensive player in FCS. Bell finished tied for second in last season's voting as a sophomore.
Last season, Obaseki was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press and was a First Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference performer. He finished third in the league's Defensive Player of the Year voting after leading the Sycamores with 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss, which tied for second and third in the MVFC, respectively, in those categories. He posted 22 total tackles against Western Illinois on October 15 which is the most by a defensive lineman in the history of the MVFC. Obaseki also plays fullback in goal line situations as he scored five touchdowns last season on five rushing attempts. Obaseki was also a First Team All-MVFC performer as sophomore in 2010.
Obaseki will be looking to dethrone the reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner in Matt Evans from New Hampshire. Obaseki was a finalist for the award in 2011, and is joined by six others who return to the Watch List in 2012. Other returnees include Evans, Brent Russell (Georgia Southern), Keith Pough (Howard), Derek Rose (Northwestern State) and Kejuan Riley (Alabama State).
Newcomers to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List in 2012 include Zach Minter (Montana State), Willie Jefferson (Stephen F. Austin), Joseph LeBeau (Jackson State), Blake Oliaro (San Diego), Clarence Bumpas (Northern Colordado), Wes Dothard (Chattanooga), Jeremy Kimbrough (Appalachian State), Blake Peiffer (Southeast Missouri State), Tyler Starr (South Dakota), Demetrius McCray (Applachian State), B.W. Webb (William & Mary) and Marcus Williams (North Dakota State).
The Missouri Valley Football Conference is well represented on the watch list as Obaseki is joined by Tyler Starr of South Dakota and Marcus Williams of North Dakota State).
The Buchanan Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2012 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 175 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season on Nov. 19. The top three vote-getters will be invited to The Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation.
The Sports Network also presents the Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards. The Payton Award honors the FCS player of the year, the Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award honors the FCS coach of the year.