CHARLESTON, SC - Charleston Southern senior defensive end Anthony Ellis earned 2017 Big South Football Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors as announced by the conference office on Tuesday afternoon. Ellis shares the honors with Monmouth safety Mike Basile as the duo split the votes by the Big South's head coaches and media panel.
Ellis is the fourth repeat winner of the league's top defensive honor, as he led the Big South in tackles for loss for the third consecutive season with 16.0, and tied for the most forced fumbles with three. A two-time Defensive Player of the Week selection, he finished second in the league with a career-high 9.0 sacks and was part of a unit that set the Big South single-season team sack record with 34.
The senior defensive end finished in the top 10 in the conference with two interceptions, posted 52 overall tackles (30 solo), and recorded three multi-sack games and six multi-tackle for loss efforts in 2017. In five Big South games, the Buck Buchanan Award finalist was tops with 12.0 tackles for loss - including a Big South single-game record 5.5 tackles for loss vs. Gardner-Webb in Week 10 - in addition to a league-best 5.5 sacks plus 34 total tackles.
Ellis became the second player in Big South Conference history to post three 7.0 sack seasons after finishing the contest with second in the league with 9.0 sacks for the season. The Apopka, Fla. native joins Liberty's Chima Uzowihe as the only players in conference history to post three 7.0 sack seasons. His nine sacks on the year mark the third-highest total in Big South history, while his 24.0 career sacks trail only Uzowihe (25.0, 2012-15). His 16.0 tackles for loss gave him 51.5 in his career, placing him second in the Big South all-time record book behind only Gardner-Webb's Brian Johnston (53.5, 2004-07).
Ellis and Basile are the first players to tie for the conference's Defensive Player of the Year honor, as both received 20 total points and seven first-place votes.