CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charleston Southern senior defensive lineman Anthony Ellis was selected the Preseason Big South Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, announced at the Big South Football Media Day Kickoff Luncheon at the Charlotte Marriott City Center hotel in Uptown Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon.
Ellis is the third player to be voted the conference's Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in consecutive seasons. A finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award in 2016, Ellis earned All-America recognition from STATS, the Associated Press and Hero Sports last season, and was tabbed a 2017 preseason All-American by Athlon's.
"It's a real blessing receiving this award for the second year now," Ellis said. "Looking around and knowing all of the other defensive guys in the conference and how good they are, it's a blessing to receive this award again. I'm looking forward to getting back to work and getting ready for the season."
He led the Big South with 16.0 tackles-for-loss and 7.0 sacks -- the second player in Big South history to record two seven-sack seasons. He tallied 45 tackles (26 solo) with eight quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles. A dominant edge rusher who often commands double teams, Ellis recorded a tackle-for-loss in all but one game and had four multi-TFL efforts, including 3.5 in the Buccaneers' win at No. 24/25 Liberty on Nov. 12. He recorded a sack in six of 10 appearances last season, including four in a three-game span.
The Big South Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Flames, Ellis shined in league play as he totaled a league-best 9.5 TFL in five games (1.90 per game), and tied for the top spot 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, who enters his final season tied for sixth all-time in Big South history in both TFL (35.5) and career sacks (15.0), is looking to become just the third player in the conference record book with 40 tackles-for-loss and 20 sacks. He collected 10 first-place votes and 27 points from the panel, ahead of Monmouth All-American safety Mike Basile (five first-place votes and 18 points).
Gardner-Webb senior quarterback Tyrell Maxwell was voted the Big South Conference's 2017 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, respectively, by the league's head football coaches and media panel. Both players were also named to the preseason All-Conference team.