The best rookie defensive player in the NFL this year came from the FCS.
Former South Carolina State and current Indianapolis linebacker Darius Leonard won the award Feb. 2 after a fantastic rookie season. In 15 games played, Leonard led the league with 163 tackles. He added seven sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles.
Leonard was drafted by the Colts in the second round (36th overall) after totaling more than 100 tackles in both 2016 and 2017 at SC State. He earned First Team HERO Sports All-American honors in 2017 while being named to the Second Team the year before.
"You always got to have someone in your corner at all times," Leonard said during his acceptance speech. "Football is a very stressful sport at times and I have a beautiful wife that's in my corner. She's there every single day through my long days and she's my biggest motivation and I just want to say thank you to her for being by my side since Day 1 and I love you."