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  2022 BUCK BUCHANAN AWARD WINNER: The team awards handed out after Illinois State's spring practice were a direct reflection on outside linebacker Zeke Vandenburgh and foreshadowed his 2022 season. Amid the list of award winners who were mostly a newcomer to the program and younger players seeking to earn more playing time was Vandenburgh, a redshirt senior who by that point was a two-and-a-half-year starter. He was named Defensive MVP...for practice. Vandenburgh saved his best for last in so many ways, and his dominating play led to him receiving the 2022 Stats Perform Buck Buchanan Award, which honors the national defensive player of the year in FCS college football.

William & Mary redshirt sophomore outside linebacker John Pius finished second in the voting and Central Arkansas sophomore defensive end David Walker third after a 54-member panel selected the 28th annual award – named for legendary defensive lineman Junious "Buck" Buchanan, who starred at Grambling State as part of his Hall of Fame career. The announcement was made Saturday night at the FCS National Awards banquet in Frisco, Texas. Vandenburgh, 23, from Freeport, Illinois, was the Missouri Valley Football Conference's defensive player of the year. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound All-American missed one game with a leg injury yet still racked up 100 tackles (51 solos), 21 tackles for loss (120 yards) and an FCS-leading 14 sacks with one interception, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and four QB hurries. He helped coach Brock Spack's team finish with a winning record by posting a career-high 17 tackles against Western Illinois in his final college game. - STATS FCS Football

rSr/2023 OLB Zeke VandenburghIllinois State
News Source: STATS FCS Football

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