ELON, N.C. – Having already been named to a trio of preseason All-America teams, Elon University linebacker Warren Messer is among the 25 players named to the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Ward Watch List on Thursday, Aug. 2. The Buck Buchanan Award is presented annually to the top defensive player at the FCS level.
Messer, who hails from Garner, N.C., earned All-America honors from both STATS FCS and Phil Steele following his junior campaign. He finished 10th in the voting for the 2017 Buck Buchanan Award and ended the year ranked 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 in 2017, including a career-best 15 tackles in a league win at No. 6 Richmond. He had seven total double-digit tackle performances a year ago. In the Phoenix’s victory over William & Mary, he 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 No. 13 Villanova, Messer finished with five total tackles, including 3.0 for a loss and a pair of sacks.
Messer was named to the preseason All-CAA Football Team last week.
Elon enters the 2018 campaign off of an 8-4 season in which the Phoenix made its second-ever appearance in the FCS Playoffs. Under first-year coach Curt Cignetti, Elon posted a six-game improvement from 2016 to 2017. Cignetti was named the CAA Football Coach of the Year and the team featured six all-conference players and the CAA Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Phoenix defeated four ranked opponents and made its first appearance in the national polls since the 2010 campaign. The team won eight straight games during the season, the fourth longest such streak within a season in the history of the program.