MISSOULA — The national recognition continues to pour in for Montana linebacker Jace Lewis and Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen.

The Treasure State natives were among 35 players named to the Buck Buchanan Award watch list by Stats Perform on Thursday. The award is presented annually to the top FCS defensive player.

Lewis, from Townsend, has earned preseason All-American honors each of the past two years after a breakout junior season in 2019. He'll wear the No. 37 legacy jersey this fall as he enters his final season ranking in the top 40 in UM history for tackles (219) and top 30 in tackles for loss (21).

Andersen, from Dillon, is a preseason All-American and was a 2019 All-American linebacker after playing some offense in previous seasons. He was a first-team All-Big Sky selection at quarterback in 2018 after being the Big Sky freshman of the year in 2017 while playing both running back and linebacker.

Other Big Sky players on the watch list are Southern Utah linebacker La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis, Idaho linebacker Tre Walker and PSU defensive back Anthony Adams. Kaho’ohanohano-Davis and Walker were finalists for the award in the spring 2021 season, while Adams was a finalist in 2019.

The most recent Buck Buchanan Award winner from the Big Sky was Montana linebacker Dante Olson in 2019. The Griz have had three award winners and nine finalists since the award was introduced in 1995.

Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at frank.gogola@missoulian.com.

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