Sundiata Anderson, Senior Bowl
2023 Football

Buck Buchanan Award Preseason list features several HBCU names

The 2023 Buck Buchanan Award Watch List features a healthy helping of defenders from HBCUs.

A total of four HBCU football stars are on the Buck Buchanan Award Preseason Watch List, given to the top defensive player in the FCS.

Two players from the MEAC and two from the SWAC are among the 35 players named on the list produced by STATS perform.

Grambling State edge Sundiata Anderson and South Carolina State edge Patrick Godbolt made the list as defensive linemen. Alabama State linebacker Colton Adams and North Carolina Central defensive back Khalil Baker were the lone HBCU representatives at their respective positions. 

Coming in at 6’5, 240 pounds, Sundiata Anderson is considered a legit prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft. Anderson played in 10 games for Grambling State and was third on the team in tackles with 50, including 23 solo stops. He added 12.5 tackles for a loss of 64, while leading the team in sacks, with seven. He also recorded two quarterback hurries, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and blocked one kick.

Patrick Godbolt,
Patrick Godbolt chases Davius Richard. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday photo)

Patrick Goldbolt is a 6’3, 245-pound graduate defensive end looking to become the next South Carolina State defensive star. He led the MEAC with 13.5 tackles for loss for 49 yards, along with 49 tackles, (33 solo) for 45 yards and 4.5 sacks for 23 yards. Godbolt was recently named to the All-MEAC First Team.

Colton Adams, Alabama State
Colton Adams led the FCS with 11.6 tackles per game. (Photo courtesy of the SWAC)

Colton “Bubba” Adams is a textbook tackling machine at Alabama State. Adams led the SWAC, and FCS, with 11.6 tackles per game while starting in all 11 games at middle linebacker. He finished with 128 tackles and ranked second with 52 solo tackles. He ranked seventh in the SWAC with 1.2 tackles for loss per game, 2.0 sacks, three pass breakups, and forced a fumble.

North Carolina Central defensive back Khalil Baker celebrates. (Steven J. Gaither/HBCU Gameday)

Rounding out the list of HBCU players on the preseason watch list is Khalil Baker. The 6’0, 185 pound Winston-Salem, NC native was named MEAC Defensive Player of The Year in 2022 as he helped NCCU win the conference and the Celebration Bowl. He ranked second in the MEAC with four interceptions, including a touchdown return in a road win over nationally-ranked New Hampshire in September, and placed fifth in the conference in passes defended with nine.

The Buck Buchanan Award is given annually to the top defensive player in the FCS and named after the legendary Grambling State defensive lineman. Two HBCU players — Southern University defensive end Jordan Lewis and Florida A&M edge Isaiah Land — won the award in 2021 (spring/fall). 

The complete Buck Buchanan preseason watch list: 

Defensive Linemen Sundiata Anderson, Grambling State, Sr., 6-5, 240 (Southwestern Athletic Conference) Finn Claypool, Drake, R-So., 6-1, 240 (Pioneer Football League) Daylan Dotson, UT Martin, Jr., 6-3, 280 (Big South-OVC Football Association)Ty French, Gardner-Webb, Sr., 6-3, 230 (Big South-OVC Football Association) – 2022 Finalist Patrick Godbolt, South Carolina State, Sr., 6-3, 235 (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Thor Griffith, Harvard, Sr., 6-2, 305 (Ivy League) Nate Lynn, William & Mary, Sr., 6-3, 255 (CAA Football) – 2021 Finalist Eli Mostaert, North Dakota State, Sr., 6-3, 286 (Missouri Valley Football Conference) Eric O’Neill, LIU, So., 6-3, 240 (Northeast Conference) Jay Person, Chattanooga, Sr., 6-3, 224 (Southern Conference) – 2022 Finalist Josiah Silver, New Hampshire, Jr., 6-2, 243 (CAA Football) Sebastian Valdez, Montana State, Jr., 6-3, 291 (Big Sky Conference) David Walker, Central Arkansas, Jr., 6-3, 265 (United Athletic Conference) – 2022 Finalist Syrus Webster, Utah Tech, Jr., 6-4, 255 (United Athletic Conference)

Linebackers Colton Adams, Alabama State, R-Jr., 6-2, 230 (Southwestern Athletic Conference) Armon Bailey, Sacramento State, Sr., 6-1, 228 (Big Sky Conference) Adam Bock, South Dakota State, Sr., 6-1, 215 (Missouri Valley Football Conference) – 2021 Finalist Rodney Dansby, Houston Christian, Jr., 6-0, 225 (Southland Conference) – 2022 Finalist Jacob Dobbs, Holy Cross, Sr., 6-0, 237 (Patriot League) – 2021 Finalist Isaac Dowling, Mercer, Jr., 5-10, 225 (Southern Conference) David Hoage, Northern Colorado, Sr., 6-3, 245 (Big Sky Conference) Liam Johnson, Princeton, Sr., 6-0, 220 (Ivy League) Bryce Norman, Southeast Missouri, Jr., 6-0, 226 (Big South-OVC Football Association) – 2022 Finalist John Pius, William & Mary, R-Jr., 6-2, 230 (CAA Football) – 2022 Finalist Winston Reid, Weber State, Sr., 6-1, 230 (Big Sky Conference) – 2022 Finalist Tristan Wheeler, Richmond, R-Sr., 6-2, 228 (CAA Football) – 2020 and 2022 Finalist Antoine Williams, Western Carolina, Jr., 5-10, 205 (Southern Conference) – 2022 Finalist 

Defensive Backs Maxwell Anderson, Weber State, Sr., 5-11, 170 (Big Sky Conference) Khalil Baker, North Carolina Central, Sr., 6-0, 185 (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) – 2022 Finalist Kameron Brown, Chattanooga, Sr., 5-9, 179 (Southern Conference) Rex Connors, UC Davis, R-So., 6-1, 203 (Big Sky Conference) Myles Harden, South Dakota, Sr., 6-0, 190 (Missouri Valley Football Conference) Devin Haskins, Holy Cross, Sr., 6-3, 209 (Patriot League) Lawrence Johnson, Southeast Missouri, Gr., 6-0, 196 (Big South-OVC Football Association) TaMuarion Wilson, Central Arkansas, Jr., 6-2, 205 (United Athletic Conference) 

Buck Buchanan Award Preseason list features several HBCU names
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