With only one week remaining until the FCS playoff bracket is announced, we're here to take another look at which defensive studs could be crowned as the best disruptor in the championship subdivision.
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Before we take a look at some of the top candidates, here's a quick word on Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle Buck Buchanan:
Buck Buchanan was one of greatest defensive tackles of all time. After being selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1963 AFL Draft by Kansas City, he helped lead the Chiefs to a 23-7 win over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
Buchanan, who played at Grambling in Louisiana, was inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the 1990s.
Now, here's a look at the top four players currently at the top of our list for the Buck Buchanan Award, as well as a spotlight performance on a player who is making some noise:
4. S Mike Basile, Monmouth
Pushing into our Top 4 this week is Monmouth's senior leader in the defensive backfield, who's now piled up 100 total tackles for the third consecutive season. Basile (106 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 fumble, 1 INT) is a 1-man show on the back end for Monmouth (9-1), which is just on the verge of cracking the Top 25 of most FCS polls. The Hawks are on the road for a winner-take-all Big South showdown at Kennesaw State this weekend; if Basile has another big game, he could play himself into contention as a Buck Buchanan finalist.
Basile isn't the only tackle machine on our list, as South Carolina State's Darius Leonard stays on our list with 103 total tackles. He's up to nine tackles for loss, 6.5 of which are sacks.
Despite upping his tackle numbers since our last check-in, we had to move Teuhema out of our top spot. That's no fault of Teuhema's, though, as the wrecking ball linebacker has 16.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a pass breakup.
1. DE Darius Jackson, Jacksonville State
In years past, Jacksonville State has been halted from deep playoff runs because of a defense that can't quite keep up with its offense. This might be the season that all changes, and it's partially because Darius Jackson is posting out-of-control numbers. It's one thing to record 18 tackles for loss; it's another thing to have 15 solo TFLs. Add in another 16 QB hurries and three fumbles, and you've got the makings of a Buck Buchanan favorite.
Spotlight Performance of the Week:
Stats: 10 tackles (1 sack) in win vs South Dakota
It's pretty unusual to see a cornerback post double-digit tackle stats for a single game, but that's exactly what North Dakota State junior Jalen Allison did to help the Bison to a bounce-back win over QB Chris Streveler and South Dakota. Allison led his team with 10 tackles — seven of which were solo — in holding the South Dakota offense to its lowest point total since the 2015 season.
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