After finishing 12th in the voting for the award presented to the top defensive player in FCS by The Sports Network, sixth-year senior is just 71 tackles away from the school record of 432 set by 2010 Buchanan winner J.C. Sherritt
Not only will he be chasing the record of J.C. Sherritt, but Eastern Washington University linebacker Ronnie Hamlin will also be chasing the same prestigious award won by the former Eagle great.
Just 71 tackles behind Sherritt’s school record of 432, Hamlin has been selected as one of 20 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision players selected to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List. The Buchanan Award is presented annually by The Sports Network to the top defensive player in FCS.
Hamlin was an All-American the past two seasons for the Eagles, and recently was selected to the 2014 TSN preseason All-America squad. In 2013, he finished 12th in the voting for the Buchanan Award.
The 2009 graduate of Timberline High School in Lacey, Wash., received his sixth year because of two previous seasons wiped out because of injuries, and finished the 2013 season with 140 tackles to rank fourth in school history. He enters the 2014 season with 361 career tackles, just 71 from the school record of 432 set by Sherritt (2007-10), the 2010 Buchanan Award winner.
Besides Sherritt, former Eagle Greg Peach (2005-08) won the Buchanan Award in 2008 after finishing with 18 sacks as a senior and 35 1/2 in his career. Both Sherritt and Peach now play in the Canadian Football League.
Hamlin originally hurt his left knee just on Sept. 2, 2009 – just three days before EWU began its season. He had surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament on Oct. 21, but then tore the ACL again during spring practice on April 24, 2010. He had surgery on June 17, then didn’t hit the practice field again until spring of 2011.
He finished with 85 tackles his first season, 136 in 2012 and 140 last season to rank as the fourth-most in school history. Most importantly, he has helped lead the Eagles to a 29-11 record overall and 20-4 Big Sky Conference mark with a pair of league titles and two appearances in the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
More About the Buchanan Award . . .
The Buck Buchanan Award Watch List can undergo revision during the 2014 season. Ballots will be sent to a national panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries following the regular season.
The Sports Network also presents the Walter Payton, Jerry Rice and Eddie Robinson awards. The Payton Award honors the outstanding player in the FCS, the Rice Award goes to the FCS freshman of the year and the Robinson Award honors the FCS coach of the year. The winners of those the Buchanan, Rice and Robinson awards, as well as the three Payton finalists, will be invited to the national banquet on Dec. 15, 2015.
Ronnie Hamlin, Linebacker, Senior – Buck Buchanan Award Candidate (12th in the Voting)
* Hamlin was among the 43 winners selected on the 16th annual NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star Team at the conclusion of the 2013 season. He has a 3.54 grade point average as a technology major, and three times has earned Big Sky Conference All-Academic honors. He earned second team All-America honors in 2013 after finishing with 140 tackles to rank as the fourth-most in Eastern history, and had 136 in the 2012 season (now ranking sixth) when he earned fourth team All-America accolades. He was a first team All-Big Sky selection in 2012 and a second team choice in 2013. His average of 9.71 tackles per game in 2012 ranked 31st in FCS and fourth in the Big Sky. In 2013, he averaged 9.33 tackles to rank 36th in FCS and eighth in the league.
* Hamlin has 361 tackles already in his 40-game EWU career (37 starts) to rank third in school history. His 140 tackles in 2013 rank as the fourth-most in school history, and he has had 17 performances with at least 10 tackles in his career.
* Hamlin also has four career interceptions, and his momentum-changing 77-yard return for a touchdown against North Dakota (10/12/13) was the 10th-longest in school history. With UND driving for a potential game-tying score late in the third quarter, he leaped high to snag the third interception of his career, ran over one would-be tackler, then returned it down the sideline for his first pick-six as an Eagle. He also had a diving interception against Idaho State (11/2/13) to squelch an ISU drive and lead to an EWU TD and 45-27 lead.
* Hamlin had 10 tackles or more in eight games in 2013, including the last five games of the season. He injured his shoulder in the first half against Jacksonville State on (12/14/13) and wasn’t expected back, but started the second half and finished with the second-most tackles in his career with 15.
* Ronnie Hamlin’s long hair has been a trademark of his, and a friendly wager between teammates lasted three years. During the 2010 season, Hamlin and safety Jeff Minnerly challenged each other to see who could go the longest without cutting their hair. Linebacker Zach Johnson was also in on the wager, but dropped out after EWU won the NCAA Division I title. Minnerly eventually cut his hair on Dec. 17, 2012 -- just two days after his career and the 2012 season concluded -- and donated the hair to Locks of Love. Hamlin has continued to let his hair grow.