CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern senior defensive lineman Anthony Ellis was named to the Athlon Sports 2017 Preseason FCS All-America Team on Wednesday morning. Ellis is one of 27 players on the list and is the Big South Conference's only representative on the team.
The 2016 Big South Defensive Player of the Year lived up to his preseason billing last year, leading the Big South in sacks (7.0) and tackles for loss (16.0) while spearheading a dominant defensive unit for the second consecutive season. The Bucs finished seventh nationally in total defense and third overall in passing defense and return a strong front seven to the 2017 roster this year.
Ellis was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS and was well-recognized on the postseason awards circuit, earning All-American honors from the Associated Press, STATS FCS and HERO Sports. He is just the second player in Big South history to record two seven-sack seasons.
Ellis was the first Charleston Southern player to be voted the Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year since Jada Ross in 2005. He had his best performance of the year in CSU's biggest game, tallying a sack and 3.5 TFL to earn Big South Defensive Player of the Week honors in a 48-26 road rout of Liberty with first place at stake. Ellis was at the forefront of a defensive effort that limited the Flames to 75 first-half yards as the Bucs built a 31-6 halftime lead in the must-win game.
Ellis shined in conference play, totaling a league-best 9.5 TFL in five games (1.90 per game) while tying for first with four sacks (one each against Monmouth, Presbyterian, Gardner-Webb, and Liberty). He also had 24 stops against Big South foes, 15 of which were solo.
Ellis's accolades come a week after the Bucs were tabbed 16th in the Athlon Sports Preseason FCS Top 25 poll. The distinction marked the third straight year CSU has earned a spot in a preseason Top 25 poll published by a national media outlet.
Ellis was previously selected as the Big South Defensive Player to Watch by Athlon Sports in May (CLICK HERE).
The complete 2017 Athlon Sports Preseason FCS All-America Team can be found HERE