ELON, N.C. – Elon University junior linebacker Warren Messer earned a 10th place finish in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented to the top defensive player in all of FCS football, as announced by STATS FCS on Tuesday, December 5.
Messer is the first Elon player to finish in the top 25 of the Buchanan voting since linebacker Chad Nkang earned a fifth place mark in 2005 and an eighth place selection in 2006. He earned five first-place votes and 76 total points.
Messer, who hails from Garner, N.C., is currently second in CAA Football and rates 25th nationally with 9.5 tackles per game. Elon’s first CAA Football first-team all-conference performer, Messer posted a team-best 114 total tackles, including 11.0 for a loss and 5.5 sacks. He intercepted two passes and broke up three others, while forcing two fumbles. He also posted a team-high eight quarterback hurries.
Messer posted 10 or more tackles in each of Elon’s first five games this year, including a career-best 15 tackles in a league win at #6 Richmond. He had seven total double-digit tackle performances on the year. In the Phoenix’s victory over William & Mary, the junior had eight tackles, which included a sack for a safety. His interception at Rhode Island sealed a one-point victory for Elon. In a victory at #13 Villanova, Messer finished with five total tackles, including 3.0 for a loss and a pair of sacks.
In his three seasons at Elon, Messer has amassed 225 total tackles, including 18.0 for a loss and 9.0 sacks. He has 10 career games with at least 10 tackles.
The award, named for Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer and since 1995 given annually to the outstanding defensive player in the subdivision, will be presented at the STATS FCS Awards Banquet Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas – on the eve of the national championship game. Dexter Coakley, Rashean Mathis, Jared Allen, Arthur Moats and Kyle Emanuel are among the past winners who have gone on to the NFL.
Messer and the Phoenix concluded the 2017 season with an 8-4 overall record, a six-game improvement from the previous season, and earned a third-place finish in CAA Football with a 6-2 league mark as Elon earned its second-ever bid to the FCS Playoffs.