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Umunakwe Named Buchanan Award Finalist

Chizi Umunakwe posted a NEC leading 94 tackles during the 2022 season and was named a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually to the FCS Defensive Player of the Year.
Chizi Umunakwe posted a NEC leading 94 tackles during the 2022 season and was named a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually to the FCS Defensive Player of the Year.

Central Connecticut senior linebacker Chizi Umunakwe has been named a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually by Stats Perform to the national defensive player of the year in college football's Division I subdivision. The Blue Devils captain is one of 30 finalists for the honor and the only representative from the Northeast Conference.

Umunakwe finished the season with 94 total tackles, tops in the NEC. His 9.4 tackles per game also led the NEC, and ranked 22nd in the FCS. The senior finished the year with 10.5 TFL, with his 1.05 ranking 67th nationally. Umunakwe, who played in 10 games, also had 2.0 sacks, a forced fumble and a QB hurry during the season. 

In two seasons in New Britain, Umunakwe appeared in 21 games and made 144 tackles. This season he recorded six games with double-digit tackles, including a career-best 14 tackles in back-to-back games versus Saint Francis and Brown. Umunakwe finished his CCSU career with 16.5 TFL and 5.0 sacks.

The Buchanan Award, first presented in 1995 and in its 28th season, is named for legendary defensive lineman Junious "Buck" Buchanan, who starred at Grambling State as part of his Hall of Fame career. Past recipients include Dexter Coakley, Rashean Mathis, Jared Allen and Arthur Moats.

A national media panel will select the Buchanan Award winner, with voting based on the regular season. The recipient will be announced at the FCS National Awards banquet on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game.

Also this season, Stats Perform will present the Walter Payton Award (FCS offensive player of the year), Jerry Rice Award (FCS freshman player of the year), Eddie Robinson Award (FCS coach of the year) and FedEx Ground Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The 2022 Buck Buchanan Award finalists:

 

Defensive Linemen

Ty French, Gardner-Webb, Jr., 6-3, 230 (Big South)

61 tackles (29 solos), 13.5 TFL (87 yards), 11 sacks, 1 INT, 15 QBH, 1 FF (11 games)

Malik Hamm, Lafayette, Sr., 6-3, 246 (Patriot)

49 tackles (27 solos), 12.5 TFL (93 yards), 8.5 sacks, 4 PBU, 12 QBH, 3 FF, 3 BK (11 games)

Jake Heimlicher, Penn, Sr., 6-4, 245 (Ivy)

47 tackles (28 solos), 13 TFL (51 yards), 9 sacks, 1 INT, 10 QBH, 1 FF (10 games)

Jay Person, Chattanooga, Jr., 6-3, 224 (Southern)

51 tackles (26 solos), 15 TFL (83 yards), 7.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 9 QBH, 1 FF (11 games)

Caleb Sanders, South Dakota State, Sr., 6-1, 270 (MVFC)

24 tackles (14 solos), 6 TFL (43 yards), 5 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 QBH (11 games)

Spencer Waege, North Dakota State, Sr., 6-5, 282 (MVFC)

33 tackles (16 solos), 13 TFL (69 yards), 7 sacks, 5 QBH, 1 FR (11 games)

David Walker, Central Arkansas, So., 6-3, 235 (ASUN)

66 tackles (36 solos), 21 TFL (102 yards), 12 sacks, 1 PBU, 3 QBH, 1 FF (11 games)

 

Linebackers

Joe Andreessen, Bryant, Sr., 6-1, 232 (Big South)

116 tackles (77 solos), 18.5 TFL (87 yards), 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs, 2 FR, 2 BK (11 games)

Kelechi Anyalebechi, UIW, Gr., 6-0, 240 (Southland)

88 tackles (45 solos), 7.5 TFL (19 yards), 2 INTs, 3 PBU, 1 QBH, 1 FR (11 games)

Johnny Buchanan, Delaware, Gr., 6-0, 230 (CAA)

121 tackles (47 solos), 5.5 TFL (23 yards), 1 sack, 1 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF (11 games)

Rodney Dansby, Houston Christian, So., 6-0, 225 (Southland)

125 tackles (47 solos), 8 TFL (26 yards), 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBU, 5 QBH, 2 FR (11 games) 

BJ Davis, South Carolina State, Jr., 6-2, 190 (MEAC)

98 tackles (67 solos), 11 TFL (34 yards), 1.5 sacks, 5 INTs, 7 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 FF (11 games)

John Ford II, UT Martin, Gr., 6-3, 230 (Ohio Valley)

106 tackles (37 solos), 10.5 TFL (46 yards), 5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBU, 4 QBH, 1 FR, 2 FF (11 games)

Kavian Gaither, Sam Houston, So., 6-0, 200 (WAC)

79 tackles (41 solos), 11.5 TFL (40 yards), 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 QBH, 3 FR, 2 FF (9 games)

Ryan Greenhagen, Fordham, Gr., 6-1, 245 (Patriot)

103 tackles (57 solos), 7 TFL (28 yards), 4.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PBU, 5 QBH (11 games)

Aubrey Miller Jr., Jackson State, Sr., 6-2, 225 (SWAC)

98 tackles (53 solos), 8 TFL (22 yards), 1 sack, 5 PBU, 4 QBH, 2 FR, 3 FF (11 games)

Bryce Norman, Southeast Missouri, So., 6-0, 226 (Ohio Valley)

108 tackles (51 solos), 4 TFL (32 yards), 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 5 PBU, 7 QBH, 1 FR, 1 FF (11 games)

John Pius, William & Mary, R-So., 6-2, 230 (CAA)

69 tackles (42 solos), 19 TFL (97 yards), 11.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 12 QBH (11 games)

Winston Reid, Weber State, Jr., 6-1, 230 (Big Sky)

89 tackles (53 solos), 10 TFL (37 yards), 3 sacks, 1 INT, 3 QBH, 1 FR, 4 FF (11 games)

Stone Snyder, VMI, Sr., 6-3, 240 (Southern)

107 tackles (51 solos), 3 TFL (7 yards), 0.5 sacks, 2 QBH, 1 FF (10 games)

Chizi Umunakwe, Central Connecticut State, Sr., 6-1, 215 (Northeast)

94 tackles (37 solos), 10.5 TFL (40 yards), 2 sacks, 1 FF (11 games)

Zeke Vandenburgh, Illinois State, Sr., 6-2, 235 (MVFC)

100 tackles (51 solos), 21 TFL (120 yards), 14 sacks, 1 INT, 4 PBU, 4 QBH, 1 FR, 2 FF (10 games)

Tristan Wheeler, Richmond, R-Jr., 6-2, 228 (CAA)

97 tackles (47 solos), 9 TFL (24 yards), 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 3 PBU, 3 QBH (11 games)

Antoine Williams, Austin Peay, R-So., 5-10, 196 (ASUN)

91 tackles (42 solos), 12.5 TFL (60 yards), 4 sacks, 1 PBU, 3 QBH, 1 FR, 1 FF, 1 BK (11 games)

 

Defensive Backs

Khalil Baker, North Carolina Central, Jr., 6-0, 185 (MEAC)

51 tackles (38 solos), 2 TFL (2 yards), 4 INTs, 5 PBU, 1 FR (11 games)

Luke Glenna, St. Thomas, Sr., 5-11, 189 (Pioneer)

68 tackles (36 solos), 1 TFL (5 yards), 4 INTs, 6 PBU, 1 QBH (11 games)

Robby Hauck, Montana, R-Sr., 5-10, 185 (Big Sky)

95 tackles (31 solos), 4 TFL (10 yards), 1.5 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 QBH (11 games)

Marcus Hillman, Elon, DB, Sr., 6-0, 200 (CAA)

73 tackles (50 solos), 16.5 TFL (68 yards), 8.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 4 QBH, 2 FR, 4 FF (11 games)

Alijah Huzzie, ETSU, R-So., 5-11, 190 (Southern)

59 tackles (43 solos), 2.5 TFL (8 yards), 6 INTs, 16 PBU (11 games)

Marte Mapu, Sacramento State, Sr., 6-3, 216 (Big Sky)

64 tackles (36 solos), 6.5 TFL (30 yards), 1 sack, 2 INTs, 4 PBUs, 2 QBH, 1 FF, 1 BK (11 games)

 

 

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