Four of the 20 players on the Buck Buchanan Award preseason watch list, released Thursday, play in the Southern Conference. And two of those four play for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Mocs junior defensive end Davis Tull and senior linebacker Wes Dothard, both All-Americans in 2012, are up for the award that goes to the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision.
This is the first time two Mocs have been on the watch list in the same season, and the only other school with two on this season's list is two-time defending national champion North Dakota State.
"I'm excited that we both made it, honestly," said Tull, the 2012 SoCon defensive player of the year. "I think it's really cool to have teammates on there, especially me and Wes, because we're pretty close friends off the field."
Dothard is a two-time All-American who is making his second appearance on the watch list. He led the Mocs with 94 tackles last season. Dothard isn't one for showing too much emotion, and he wasn't doing any cartwheels about making the watch list again.
"I've already had it before so it doesn't mean that much," Dothard said, later conceding that it does indicate he's doing something right in his career. "It does show that."
Tull was a unanimous All-American in 2012 after leading the SoCon, and setting a UTC record, with 12.5 sacks. In 22 career games he has 17.5 sacks.
"It shows that hard work pays off, and last year I worked really hard," Tull said. "I'm appreciative of it, and it's really cool."
Both players said they were eager for preseason practice to begin on July 31. Until then they'll keep working out with their teammates, as they did Thursday at Finley Stadium.
The other SoCon players on the watch list are Wofford linebacker Alvin Scioneaux and Samford safety Jaquiski Tartt.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.