James Madison senior Arthur Moats not only won this year's Buck Buchanan Award, given to the best FCS defensive player in the country, he did so in record fashion.
Moats was named this year's winner Thursday night in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He received 342 points and 15 first-place votes, and won in the largest voting margin in the Buchanan award's 15-year history.
"It's really exciting. It's the top honor you could win, as far as a defensive player individually," Moats said by phone afterward. "And I just feel I'm solidified now in history."
Moats entered his senior year with a chip on his shoulder, after being omitted from the Sports Network's three preseason All-America teams.
He proceeded to lead JMU with 90 tackles and 11 sacks, one shy of the school's single-season record. He also led the nation in tackles for a loss, with 23.5, and had coach Mickey Matthews campaigning on his behalf for most of the season.
But Moats admitted Thursday that the Buchanan award wasn't always a top priority.
"About midway through the season, it became a realistic goal when I was added to the list. And I was like, 'Wow, okay,'" he said. "And then after the UMass game (when Moats had 11 tackles, including 1.5 sacks) I started thinking I could really win this."
He's the second player from JMU to earn the award, joining 2001 winner Derrick Lloyd.