University News

Taylor Named One Of Three Finalists For Buck Buchanan Award

December 6, 2017

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From WIU Athletics

MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois senior linebacker Brett Taylor is one of three finalists for the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the FCS Defensive Player of the Year.

Taylor is invited to the STATS FCS Awards Banquet on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas, where the Buchanan Award winner will be announced. James Madison's Andrew Ankrah and Jacksonville State's Darius Jackson are the other two finalists.

"What a tremendous personal honor for Brett and a team honor for Western Illinois football," said head coach Charlie Fisher. "Brett's dedication and hard work towards improving his craft and skill set has only continued the tradition of great linebackers at Western. He is a true Leatherneck in every sense of the word and he has left an everlasting legacy in his hometown."

The nation's leader in tackles (162), stops per game (13.5) and assisted tackles (96), Taylor recently became the fourth-ever Leatherneck to win a conference Defensive Player of the Year award. The native of Macomb, Ill., also logged four Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors and totaled 13.0 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, four breakups, two forced fumbles and one quarterback hurry on the season.

A 2016 STATS FCS All-American and three-time All-MVFC honoree, Taylor concluded his Western Illinois career with 469 tackles and 266 solo stops, which are each the third-most in school history, respectively. His 203 career assisted tackles rank fourth in program history.

On Sept. 30 against South Dakota, Taylor matched a program-record previously set by NFL great Rodney Harrison (1993, at Western Kentucky) with 28 tackles in one contest. His 18 assisted tackles in that game are the second-most in a single game in WIU history. Taylor finished his career at least tied for the team lead in tackles in 16 of his last 17 contests, including all but one this season. He recorded double-digit tackles in eight games in 2017.

Taylor finished seventh in the Buchanan Award voting a year ago, and seeks to become the third Leatherneck to ever be named FCS Defensive Player of the Year. James Milton earned the honor in 1998 and Edgerton Hartwell won the award in 2000. Cyron Brown (third place, 1997), Hartwell (fifth, 1999), Lee Russell (sixth, 2002; fifth, 2003), Jason Williams (fourth, 2008) and Kyle Glazier (tied for second, 2010) have also finished as finalists.

A national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries voted on the Buchanan Award, named for the legendary defensive lineman from Grambling State.

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