Southeastern Louisiana junior defensive back Harlan Miller is one of 20 student-athletes on the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Miller is the latest Lion to be named a preseason candidate for a national award. Earlier this week, SLU senior quarterback Bryan Bennett was named to the watch list for the Walter Payton Award, which is presented to the top player in FCS.
The preseason accolade is the latest for Miller. The Kentwood native was named first team preseason All-America by The Sports Network and was named to the College Football Performance Awards FCS National Defensive Back of the Year Award watch list. Miller was joined on the CFPA list by senior teammate Marice Sutton.
Miller is generating national attention after a breakout sophomore season for the Southland Conference champions. In his first full season as a starter, the first team All-Southland and All-Louisiana selection led Southeastern with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
Fans in Strawberry Stadium will see three Buck Buchanan Award Watch List members during the 2014 season. In addition to Miller, junior defensive ends James Cowser of Southern Utah and Central Arkansas’ Jonathan Woodard will visit Hammond in the coming year. Miller, Cowser, Woodard and Gardner Webb defensive tackle O.J. Mau are the only juniors on the list.
The seniors on the list include linebackers Quinn Backus of Coastal Carolina, Tony Bell of Tennessee-Martin, Ronnie Hamlin of Eastern Washington, Stephen Hodge of Fordham and Lynden Trail of Norkolk State; safeties Daniel Fitzpatrick of Tennessee State, Liberty’s Jacob Hagen, Colton Heagle of North Dakota State, Missouri State’s Caleb Schaffitzel and Jaquiski Tartt of Samford; defensive ends Zach Hodges of Harvard, William & Mary’s Mike Reilly, Davis Tull of Chattanooga and Montana’s Zack Waggeman; defensive tackle Troy Moore of Sacred Heart.
The Buchanan will celebrate its 20th anniversary this season and be presented by The Sports Network at the FCS national awards banquet on Dec. 15. Past recipients include two-time winner Dexter Coakley, Jared Allen (the first Big Sky winner in 2003), Rashean Mathis, Kroy Biermann and Montana State’s back-to-back winners Caleb Schreibeis in 2012 and Brad Daly last season.
The Buck Buchanan Award Watch List will undergo revision during the 2014 season. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season.