HARRISONBURG, Va. - James Madison football's Stephon Robertson has been named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List for the FCS National Defensive Player of the Year for the upcoming season, The Sports Network announced. Last season, Robertson finished eighth in the overall balloting and second among underclassmen despite only being on the final watch list/ballot.
The senior linebacker has already been recognized by The Sports Network as a First Team Preseason All-American and has been mentioned highly in numerous publications for this year. Robertson was selected as a 2012 Walter Camp All-American, Second Team Associated Press and Sports Network All-American and the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year over several top candidates, including reigning Buck Buchanan Award winner Matt Evans of New Hampshire, as well as earning First Team All-CAA honors. A starter in all 11 games this year and 34 played in his career, Robertson was a force for Madison's defense, which ranked second in the CAA and 24th in FCS football in scoring, first in the league and 19th nationally in rushing defense and fifth in the CAA in pass defense. Also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation's top defensive player, Robertson finished with a team-high 101 tackles, including 48 solos, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and five pass breakups, earning him First Team All-CAA honors for the second straight year after being named CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010. Also a finalist for the Dudley Award as the state's top Division I player, he was third in the league and tied for 43rd in the nation with 9.18 tackles per game. He led JMU in tackles in seven of the 11 games played this year and recorded double-digit tackles in six games, five of them CAA contests.
In his career, Robertson has started in 34 of a possible 35 games. He has amassed 304 career tackles, an average over his career of 8.94 tackles per game, despite being targeted as a threat by every opposing offense.
The Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the defensive player of the year in the FCS, is named for Junious "Buck" Buchanan, the NAIA All-American and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who played for Grambling State University from 1959 through 1962. The winner is chosen by a nationwide panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries from the division.
The Buchanan Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2013 season. Ballots will be sent to a panel of about 175 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season. The winner will be invited to The Sports Network FCS Awards Presentation on Dec. 16.